Every now and again Black stars use their star power to make a statement about the political conditions in America. We recently saw it with Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Chance the Rapper endorsing Hillary Clinton for president at mass concerts in Cleveland and Chicago. Similarly, this star-studded PSA includes folx like Cedric the Entertainer, Meagan Good, Chris Spencer, Tisha Campbell-Martin and many others who want to emphasize the importance of voting in this year’s general election, specifically where Black voters are concerned.
The video was created by the Artistic Alliance for Justice (AAJ) and spearheaded by Steve Jones and Omar Epps.
The organization was created by model and actress Eva Marcille who recently told Essence she has, “never had to take literacy test at a voting booth or been turned away at a polling place, nor have I ever been told I couldn’t vote because of the color of my skin. I’ve never experienced that because my right to vote is protected by the blood of our parents and grandparents. That’s why I’m voting and that’s why I want you to vote. Exercising our right to vote is what we owe.”
Marcille’s points are not to be taken for granted. There are many burdens and obstacles to voting in the United States today, especially for voters of color. The artists in the short film address these issues saying, “Make sure you prepare for voter suppression.” They offered these tips for voters who may come up against discouragement and limitations on their voting rights.
- Take off work if you can.
- Make sure you bring the proper ID.
- Demand a regular ballot.
- Don’t use a provisional ballot.
Sadly, while these tips and pieces of advice are helpful, they are not comprehensive enough for many Black voters who will no doubt be turned away from the polls, face long lines and hours and hours of waiting, or even experience deliberate voter intimidation while attempting to exercise their right to cast their ballots.
Omar Epps echoed the sentiment of the video stating, “Voting is an essential right for every American citizen,” he says. “And the notion of “power to the people” only comes to fruition by us letting our voices be heard in the ballot. This is a crucial time in our history, and this election will determine the direction and progression of our precious democratic union.”
The fact is: everyone has to make their own decision about who they will support at the ballot box. But, beyond that, there are a host of provisions and legislative initiatives down ballot in many states across the country. It is important that we make our opinions known on important issues facing our respective communities.
If you are unsure about what is on your ballot, check Ballotpedia to get more information. If you need to know where your polling place is, look up more information about where to find your polling place.
Photo via YouTube/Artistic Alliance for Justice