County Executive Jack B. Johnson likes the idea of blending young people, music and electoral politics. He said as much last week while schmoozing with politicians and celebrities at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Johnson, at a rally sponsored by the Young Democrats that featured Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Chuck D from the group Public Enemy, said he liked the way artists such as Combs and Chuck D are using their celebrity status to encourage young people to vote.
"Our young people like entertainment. They want to be involved," said Johnson, adding he could see a program in the county that, for example, gave baseball fans free tickets to Bowie Baysox games in exchange for their pledges to vote in the upcoming election.
Although a good portion of last week's convention focused on speeches by older adults, the rally at Boston's Fleet Center was also a chance for the younger generation to rub shoulders with urban music legends, several of whom are part of a high-profile, nonpartisan effort to register young voters nationwide.
"We are spreading a simple message: Vote or Die!" said Combs from a stage as teenagers scrambled to get a close-up view of the musician and producer. "They don't think that you will get off your butts and vote. We are going to trick them. We are going to vote in numbers that they haven't seen before."
Combs and Chuck D are part of music mogul Russell Simmons's "Hip-Hop Summit Action" campaign to get out the vote.
"There are 99 days before the election," Chuck D said during the rally, adding that people between the ages of 18 and 45, in particular, should be registered to vote.