Hip hop celebs turn up the vote

March 19, 2008 3:40:02 PM PDT
4 years ago "Rock the Vote," a national movement, spear-headed by various hip-hop artists started to register young voters for the presidential election. Today, a similar effort kicked off in Pennsylvania. Popular hip hop music show host Terrance J. put paper to pen and registered to vote as part of a massive effort encouraging young people to do the same. The 106th & Park host, who's in his early 20's, says it is his moral and social duty to exercise his right to vote.

"As I sign this registration form I think of the many people who were sprayed by hoses, bit by dogs and sacrificed their life for me to have this opportunity to sign this," Terrance J. said.

The national Hip Hop Team Vote: Turn up the Vote campaign launched today is supported by Hip Hop business mogul, Russell Simmons and celebrities like actor Will Smith and rapper-producer Eminem. Pennsylvania is one of five battleground states where the campaign seeks to register tens of thousands of young voters.

"I expect this to be a very, very powerful thing. I don't think the pollsters or the media have any idea what we're bringing to Pennsylvania," Russell Simmons said.

Turn up the vote has registration tables at 8 campuses across the state. It's creating buzz on the street. It will saturate radio with public service announcements from hip hop artists like Fat Joe.

The message seemed to resonate among some in the young demographic.

"Youth are really searching for answers for the war in Iraq, disproportionate education and the economy. So it's critical that we come out and not only register, but vote," Lauren Goodwin, 22, said.

After coming out to hear Russell Simmons, Penn students, Darren Smith & Justin Reilly registered to vote and vow to vote. They believe the celebrity sell is powerful.

"It's like ok yeah, they're rapping about this and that but now they're serious about this and that so i'm going to take that seriously too and go vote," Justin Reilly, 20, said.

Members of the campaign to mobilize young voters acknowledge they've got their work cut out for them as the deadline for registering to vote in Pennsylvania is this Monday.