Celebrities declare why we must vote

David Goodson | 10/8/2020, midnight
The only real debate that can occur when discussing the importance of voting is the amount that it impacts day-to-day ...
Ledisi Nigel DeGraff photo

The only real debate that can occur when discussing the importance of voting is the amount that it impacts day-to-day life. Is voting in EVERY election, including those for local constituents, the paramount responsibility of American citizens? What of the people who actually put work into the communities, but only come out for the BIG races? Are their voices muted as they chose to mentor/tutor, clean and protect the communities where they dwell? First week of November, it matters not! All hands on deck and beyond as things will not be the same whatever the outcome.

With the stakes as high as they’ve ever been in our nation’s history, the campaigns to get you to the polls are ramped. On the eve of the vice presidential debates, which can have historic consequences, multiple award-winning recording artists Patti Austin, Chaka Khan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Brenda Russell, Sheila E., Terri Lyne Carrington, India.Arie, Ledisi, Siedah Garrett, Lisa Fischer and Lalah Hathaway debuted an organization they formed called TWIST (Tuff Women In Strange Times), a dynamic coalition of superstar female talent to rally voters to the polls for Election Day 2020. Together with special guest, noted activist, academic and author Angela Davis, they began a series of special voter encouragement videos under the banner TWIST2020. The series kicked off Oct. 6, 2020, with a very special motivational video vignette by the late poet, author and activist Maya Angelou. The campaign was and will continue to be broadcast live on www.twist2020.com, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.com and will culminate with a live virtual event titled “This Is Why I Vote” Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Viewers are encouraged to use #WeAreTWIST2020 on social media to engage.

The brainchild of Grammy-winning vocalist Patti Austin, TWIST2020 will feature daily vignettes from each of these accomplished women about the theme “This Is Why I Vote,” citing the women who inspired them to political action. Sheila E. and Terri Lyne Carrington created special musical underscores for each video in the series; viewers can expect a few special musical flourishes as part of the other presentations. Also part of the series is the all-star video version of the song “L.O.V.E. (Let One Voice Emerge),” previously composed and recorded by Austin, Garrett and other artists for 2013’s Voter Participation Center voter registration campaign.

Austin says TWIST aims to remind voters, particularly women, of the historic power they have to make a difference, especially in light of the Sept. 18, 2020, passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “We’ve all got incredible stories about a school teacher, our mother, or her mother, or just other powerful women that influence our lives,” says the legendary pop and jazz artist. “We’ve got this election coming up. We have the power of the world in our hands, given to us by the women who came before us.”

Each of the participants in TWIST was chosen for her creativity, commitment to community, global awareness and unique expression of ideas. “There’s this marvelous, incredible, sardonic humor that exists between all these women, and a frightening level of respect,” Austin continues. “If you’ve got extra super-duper powers, extra Black girl magic, then we need all of that plugged in together at the same time to empower others. I’m determined to change the mindset around this election.”

TWIST2020 is produced by Patti Austin, Tammy McCrary, Julie Bergman and publicity wizard, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Times for games are over. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife!