I can’t sleep too long.
Why they do the people wrong?
— Rap from “Wake Up Everybody”
The Detroit Free Press reports the album that will put hip hop on the political map has been released. It was recorded to benefit America Coming Together, , an organization that has registered new voters in most states, and, provides information about how the issues impact individuals, including young people. The single, a remake of “Wake Up Everybody,” is already topping the chart at MTV.com. Its message, that it is cool to vote, just might catch on.
Something else to fire up your computer for. Try the all-star remake of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ stirring 1975 hit, “Wake Up Everybody.”
This one features Ashanti, Wyclef Jean, Mary J. Blige, Faith Hill, Musiq, Brandy, Missy Elliott and the song’s original lead singer, Teddy Pendergrass. The song is included in a similarly titled album of socially motivational songs, out Sept. 21.
The project aims to get out the vote and “affect change” in the November presidential election. (Republicans beware!) Watch and listen at www.wakeupeverybody.org .
The site features two excellent videos. One discusses how the get out the vote project developed. The other is a mini documentary of the artists recording their parts of the song. Both are very straightforward about why hip hop artists are urging minority citizens, particularly, to vote this year. Low-income people, who are disproportionately minority, are suffering the consequences of Republican hegemony — including unemployment, increases in college tuition, homelessness and bias in the criminal justice system. To affect change, new leadership is needed. Voting is the first step toward changing the status quo.
Hear the song “Wake Up Everybody” in its entirety at the site. Learn about the other songs on the album, recorded by some of the most talented people in the business, there, too. The album is now in some bricks and mortar music stores. It can also be ordered online.
One of my favorite things about the informational video is that it opens and closes with a picture of an American flag ruffled by the wind. The symbols of America are often hijacked by the Right. Members of disfavored groups are encouraged to believe they are second-class citizens, not entitled to those symbols. By taking back the flag, Wake Up Productions reminds us that it is ours, too.
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