Civic Responsibility Set to T.I.'s Hip-Hop Beat

T.I. is spreading the nonpartisan word to the non-college crowd.
T.I. is spreading the nonpartisan word to the non-college crowd. (Photo by Oscar Merrida)
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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Civic Responsibility Set to T.I.'s Hip-Hop Beat

Gotta hand it to T.I. for tackling -- indirectly, anyway -- the question on everyone's mind as he kicked off his get-out-the-vote campaign for the Hip Hop Caucus at the 9:30 club yesterday.

"For all the felons in the house," the multi-platinum rapper told the crowd, "just because they say'felons can't vote' doesn't mean you can't vote." Laws vary by state, but in most, once you've served the terms of your sentence, he said, "you can re-register."

Alas, though he didn't get into it, voting day is still a way off for T.I., who has hours of community service, months of prison and three years of home detention ahead of him due to his recent conviction for buying a stash of illegal machine guns. At 27, the Rubberband Man's spent most of the past decade on probation, so he's never voted or even been eligible to register. (Which he's got in common with many of the screaming fans at 9:30, who are simply still too young.)

But, heck, that just made his pitch sound all the more heartfelt.

"You give up your right to vote, you give up your right to complain," said the star, in long cargo shorts and a "Respect My Vote" T-shirt. "You gotta understand how the game is played. In this country, the game is played by voting."

T.I. was joined by Hip Hop Caucus's president, the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Washington Wizard Etan Thomas and a host of lesser hip-hop luminaries ( Maino, Young Berg, Young Steff, Dawn from Danity Kane, go-go local heroes Mambo Sauce) to kick off the campaign. The push is aimed at 18- to 29-year-olds who aren't in college -- with emphasis on "the hip-hop generation," said T.I. -- "the most powerful generation and genre in the country. . . . Whether they like to admit it or not, we run this country."

As is so often the case, it was hard to keep things nonpartisan. Mambo Sauce gave a shout-out to Obama; T.I. blamed poor voter turnout in 2004 for "the mess we're in." Quick save: "I ain't saying no names, I ain't pointing no fingers."


What recession? The market for Barack Obama art is through the roof. A collage by artist Shepard Fairey went for $108,000 last week -- more than double what was expected. Fairey, best known for "Obey Giant" street art, started creating Obama art this year. His "Obama Hope" poster is one of the iconic images of the campaign -- signed prints are going for big bucks on eBay -- and Fairey donated a 45-inch-by-69-inch mixed-media version for Russell Simmons's Art for Life charity auction. Pre-sale estimates ranged from $30,000 to $50,000, but online bidding was so hot that the auction was extended. Proceeds go to Simmons's art education foundation; no word on the identity of the new owner or where the artwork will hang.

Love, Etc.

· Pregnant: Rebecca Romijn is expecting twins, her rep confirmed yesterday. The "Ugly Betty" actress-model -- best known as the hot blonde who divorced actor John Stamos to marry actor Jerry O'Connell-- will be the next tabloid darling (Maternity fashion! Baby showers! Nursery decor!) until she gives birth this winter. First children for Romijn, 35, and O'Connell, 34.

· Born: A baby boy to actress Mary Lynn Rajskub (high-strung Chloe on "24") and Matthew Rolph. Valentine Anthony arrived Thursday -- two weeks past her due date, reports People. First child for Rajskub, 36, and her 28-year-old boyfriend, a physical trainer.

End Quote

"I never realized how many nude pictures I did before I met Nicolas. I took him and said, 'O.K., now I need to show you, because I posed in the nude. . . . You must know that this is going to come out.' He said, 'Oh, I like this one! Can I have a print of it?' "

-- Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on showing her nude modeling shots to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The first lady of France dishes about her past boyfriends, his ex-wives and her whirlwind marriage in the September issue of Vanity Fair.

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