Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown sponsored a “Vote 2 Live” Hip-Hop Voter Registration Rally Saturday at Creative Salon on the city’s West Side.
Brown and the hip-hop community will be targeting urban youth voters ages 18 to 30, using multiple methods of peer-to-peer contacts at various hip hop locations throughout the year.
Standing with Brown was West Side minister Rev. C.L. Sparks, Commissioner Bobbie Steele, 8th District state rep candidate LaShawn Ford and State Rep. Art Turner.
“This week we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. “the drum major for justice,” said Brown in her opening statements at Creative Salon, 3946 W. 16th Street. “How befitting it is to hold a voter registration rally for our youth, when Dr. King talked about having a dream that one day this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all mend are created equal; and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“Well, this rally today is about those unalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Brown added. “In order for our youth to be able to enjoy those rights, we know that they must exercise their right to vote. The theme is ‘Vote To Live.’ We call it ‘Vote To Live’ because voting is essential to ensuring the quality of life of all citizens.”
“Voting is essential because the public officials that are placed in office with the vote control the quality of our lives. These are some of the concerns of our youth.
“Yes, it may be surprising to some, but young people are concerned about the same things that the older generation is concerned about, things that affect ‘the quality of their lives,” Brown said.
Chicago’s own The Legendary Traxster, Grammy-nominated producer of the likes of Mariah Carey, Cam’Ron and Twista, said he was proud to be a representative of hip-hop and wanted to become more involved in “our” future.
“I spend a lot of time making music, promoting music, doing shows for TV and radio – [all] for profit to sell records. And I think as I become older and more experienced in life it is time that I do something, and my peers to do something, to connect with people for a greater cause then making profit,” he said. “So I’m here today to show my commitment and to encourage all my peers to become more involved in the campaign such as ‘Vote To Live,’ ‘Vote 4 Hip Holitics’ and all the different organizations that are represented here today. So that we can make a difference in our community and so that those officials who are voted into office who are suppose to represent us, respect us and our agenda.”
Spoken Word Artist Malik Yusef, who has worked with Kanye West said he didn’t come to the rally about the music, but about the hip-hop culture and community that politics have forgotten.
“As a franchise we have been overlooked, our power has been overlooked, our ability to galvanize a group of people has been overlooked,” Yusef asserted. “I am here to let the people know out there in TV and radio land that we are now officially organized. You will no longer overlook our agenda in your political platforms, least you will suffer a great blow and our votes will go to your competition.
“We will actively engage ourselves in our own issues, we will explain those and articulate those; we will communicate those issues to the people who represent us. We will choose our own leaders. You will no longer choose them for us. This is what we are here to say today. We desire to live and understand that voting is a great avenue to do so. Yusef said hip-hop activists are registering people to vote from ages 18-40, some who have never voted before.
“We never had a concern about voting,” he said. “They were apathetic because they didn’t feel there could be politicians who could speak to their pain. But now, we have chosen those leaders and you will hear about hip-hop in politics from this day forward.”
Kevin Shine from Soul Selector DJs emceed Saturday’s rally. Other members from the hip hop community present included Chicago’s Do or Die, Snypaz, Crucial Conflict, Rhymefest, Lupe, Bump J and E Q Live. The events co-sponsors were: Traxster, Inc., Janeff Entertainment, Soul Selector DJs, The Truth Magazine, Chicago Hip-Hop, Civic Engagement Project, Creative, Inc. The Board Inc., Vote 4 Hip Holitics, Hip-Hoppas/Ex-Offenders/Recovery/Seniors, Cutta Music and Maximillion Project.