Chance the Rapper’s tour “Magnificent Coloring” began this week in San Diego. The tour kicked off with a unique partnership for a famous rapper: the NAACP.
The Chance the Rapper and the NAACP will come together over the month-long tour to bring voter registration to every show with their joint #staywokeandvote campaign.
The partnership will bring out volunteer teams from the organization’s Youth & College Division. Their aim is to encourage and enable first-time voters to get registered before the general election in November.
Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancellor Bennett, is one of the most successful independent artists in recent years.
Discussing his partnership with the NAACP, he said, “Voting and becoming knowledgeable about this year’s upcoming presidential election is imperative. With a great deal of help from the NAACP, I have been able to provide this awesome opportunity for people to sign up and make the pledge to vote at a few of my upcoming shows. This is super important to me because I want my fans to know their voices matter and that their vote counts now more than ever.”
In turn, the NAACP sees this as an era of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. It notes that issues like voting rights, police brutality, and criminal justice are imperative parts of the national conversation. They feel that music, and Chance the Rapper, embodies an opportunity to bring activism and arts together under one roof.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) 15 September 2016
Cornell William Brooks, the president and CEO of the NAACP, announced that the artist’s message is aligned with that of his organization. William Brooks outlined the NAACP’s overarching goal for the partnership in a press release.
“Chance the Rapper is an artist whose music praises and lifts up our common humanity, and whose call for action speaks to the yearning of this moment. This year, more than it has in a generation, we must use the power of our voices and our votes and exercise our sacred right to vote.”
Voting rights are not the only thing on the rapper’s agenda this year. The artist is an ardent independent musician. Back in 2013, Bennett told Rolling Stone that “there’s no reason to [sign with a label]… What’s an album these days anyways? ‘Cause I didn’t sell it, does that mean it’s not an official release?”
In August, the rapper launched an online campaign focused on protecting independent music.
The project, called RapperRadio.com, is Twitter-based. Fans of Chance the Rapper and other independent artists can take to their Twitter accounts and use RapperRadio and their location to tweet out requests for independent music at their local radio stations.
Minneapolis station GO 95.3 noted that #optioncee has thus far been a success. Minneapolis is an early adopter of the project, as it is already home to a thriving independent radio scene.
Voter registration drives begin with the Magnificent Coloring Day Festival held in Chicago on 24 September. The event will be the MC’s first ever festival. It will take place at the White Sox Stadium in Bennet’s hometown of Chicago.
The festival will also include several of the artist’s friends and collaborators including John Legend, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Alicia Keys, Skrillex, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and Tyler, the Creator.
Tickets for the festival where Chance the Rapper will perform are sold out.
The NAACP voter registration teams will also accompany the tour in Atlanta, Georgia; Fairfax, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Miami and Tallahassee, Florida; and in San Francisco, California. The last day to register to vote varies by state with some states closing voter registration 30 days before the election on November 8.
[Featured Image by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]