Janelle Monae, the award-winning singer/actress/social activist, visited Atlanta Thursday afternoon not to perform, but to encourage college students to register and vote in November’s election.
Monae was the headliner at a voter registration rally at Spelman College, the Historically Black College and University near downtown Atlanta.
The entertainer didn’t mention any specific candidates, but referenced the local “Black Girl Magic” in her remarks to several hundred enthusiastic students from the Atlanta University Center, which includes Spelman, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, if elected, would become the nation’s first African-American woman governor.
“Show up for people who care about us...and when they get in office, they can work for us,” Monae said.
According to U.S. Census data, about 46 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the 2016 presidential election, a lower percentage than other age groups. About 61 percent of all eligible voters cast ballots in 2016.
In her pitch to get students to register to vote and go to the polls in November, Monae cited issues such gun reform, women’s rights and immigration. She cited statistics that there was a seven percent drop in the African-American vote between 2012 and 2016.
“Imagine if that seven percent showed up,” she said. “Hmmm. History has shown us what happens if we don’t show up.”
Atlanta was the latest stop of a nationwide tour titled “When We All Vote.” The campaign has included celebrities such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, actor Tom Hanks, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, country music duo Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and pro basketball star Chris Paul.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.