SOURCE: Atlantic Records

July 28, 2008 14:50 ET

The Hip Hop Caucus and Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award Winning Superstar T.I. Announce Partnership to Create Major Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote Campaign

T.I. and Rev. Yearwood Kicked Off the Campaign Today in Washington, DC With Press Conference

Campaign Slogan and T-shirt, Produced by Forthcoming AKOO Clothing Line, "Respect My Vote!" Introduced

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - July 28, 2008) - The Hip Hop Caucus,, and Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award Winning Superstar T.I. have joined forces to launch a powerful new voter registration and Get Out the Vote campaign that combines the power of celebrity and media with 21st century grassroots organizing tactics to mobilize and educate young people between the ages of 18 and 29, who are not in college. The campaign slogan, "Respect My Vote!" and t-shirts were unveiled today at a press event in Washington, DC, with DJ Green Lantern, Dawn from Danity Kane, Young Berg, Maino, Wale, Young Steff, Washington Wizard Etan Thomas, Olympic Gold Medalist Anthony Killieberew, Immortal Technique, Pleasure P, World Class Sprinter and Champion Michael Walton, BET Executive Vice President Stephen Hill and many others turning out to support.

The campaign, led by T.I., will employ other celebrities, athletes and high profile influential figures to get out the vote in a variety of ways including PSAs for radio, television and online use; in person appearances; press events; mobile and email alerts from celebrities themselves; and an aggressive online campaign. Famed photographer Jonathan Mannion has been exclusively tapped to shoot portraits of the famous faces adoring the "Respect My Vote!" slogan and t-shirt produced by forthcoming AKOO clothing line as well as direct and produce the PSAs. Confirmed participating talent will be announced throughout the campaign leading up to the November election.

Grassroots voter registration activities will be led by Hip Hop Caucus community-based street teams in seventeen (17) cities across the nation: CA (Bay Area), FL (Miami), GA (Atlanta), IN (Indianapolis), MD (Baltimore), MI (Detroit), MO (St. Louis), NC (Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham), OH (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus), PA (Philadelphia), TX (Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston), VA (Richmond), and DC (Washington, DC).

Hip Hop Caucus President, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., who helped create VOTE OR DIE! with Sean "Diddy" Combs in 2004, explains, "No matter who wins in November, if large numbers of young people do not vote, then we all lose. It does not bode well for the future of our country, and our Democracy, if young people, particularly those who are not in college, are not engaged or involved in the electoral process. This campaign is critical in strengthening our Democracy and thus protecting our freedom."

Half of young Americans ages 18-29 have never enrolled in college. According to research done by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a non-partisan research center, nearly 80 percent of the young voters who turned out on Super Tuesday had college experience. The disparity between college educated and non-college educated young voter participation is also evident by their turnout rates: one in four eligible young voters with college experience voted on Super Tuesday, compared with one in 14 eligible young voters with no college experience.

Based on these statistics, the Hip Hop Caucus and T.I. have elected to focus on engaging those individuals who are part of the larger scope of the non-college and non-voting community.

T.I., who is gearing up for the release of his highly anticipated new album, "Paper Trail" (Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records) on September 30th and has grown to truly be one of his generation's most captivating speakers, explains, "It's an honor and a pleasure to be involved with the Hip Hop Caucus and be a part of such a worthy cause and important campaign. I look forward to urging the masses to take advantage of the right that I no longer have."

This campaign will build on what worked in 2004 by using proven market outreach strategies in an electoral context. With programs including bus tours, street teams to register voters, voter education events during the Democratic and Republican Conventions and other events, we will integrate the audience building capacity of celebrities and media, and the data management and technology available for political organizations. The campaign will provide insights and data into the political behavior of this generally unengaged citizenry, and build sustainable community participation.

For more information visit or or to request press conference b-roll and photos please contact Tracy Nguyen, or Reggie Dance, at 5W Public Relations, 212-999-5585.

About the Hip Hop Caucus:

The Hip Hop Caucus was established in September 2004 by activists and organizers who were working to get out the vote. In organizing and mobilizing around the 2004 elections we realized the critical need for a sustainable political organization that empowers the Hip Hop generation to participate in the policymaking process. Through the Hip Hop Caucus we are challenging the demonization of a generation and culture by creating a space for young people to speak up -- to discuss and debate a new vision of a society and a government that works for all of us. We engage the Hip Hop generation, those born after 1964, through issue campaigns, events, and voter education.

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