Saving America: Billie Eilish, Eminem, Janelle Monáe, and More Inspire the Vote 2020

Artists across the country are mobilizing voters to help keep democracy alive.
Saving America: Billie Eilish, Eminem, Janelle Monáe, and More Inspire the Vote 2020

Artists across the country are mobilizing voters to help keep democracy alive.

Words: Scott T. Sterling

photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

November 02, 2020

This is it. The moment we’ve all been simultaneously anticipating and dreading for four long years is upon us: the 2020 election. Considering the state of the nation after just a single term under Trump, life in America has been more than enough for a wide range of artists to step up and do what they can to encourage people to hit the polls.

Here’s a hard and fast sampling of who’s doing what during these final hours to send a message to Washington that we’re all more than ready for change.

Tracy Chapman brings her “Revolution” to Late Night with Seth Meyers
The folk icon made her first live appearance in five years last night (Nov. 2) on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where she performed her classic 1988 single, “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” with a lyrical update. “Talkin’ ’bout a revolution/Go vote,” she sang while the word “VOTE” appeared behind her. “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” Chapman said in a press statement. “It is imperative that everyone vote to restore our democracy.”

Billie Eilish unites with Kamala Harris
The singer connected with the vice-presidential nominee on Zoom to talk about why it’s so important that everyone make it a priority to vote this year. “It’s really important because your voice matters,” Eilish stressed to Harris during the chat. “It’s not just like, vote cuz, vote. It’s like, we care about what you feel.” Watch the video below.

Eminem turns up for Joe Biden with new “Lose Yourself” campaign ad
The Detroit rapper has long been a very vocal (and brutal) critic of President Trump, and he’s added to that resume with a new campaign ad featuring his 2002 track, “Lose Yourself.” The ad, titled “One Opportunity,” features black-and-white footage from locales across the U.S., including Detroit and a recent Biden visit to the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Watch it below.

2 Chainz serves up “I’m Different” for Biden/Harris
With none less than American president Barack Obama stumping for his VP Joe Biden in Georgia, ATL rapper 2 Chainz couldn’t resist hyping up the crowd with a rendition of his 2012 hit. Watch his smooth intro into the song below.

Janelle Monáe combats voter suppression
With isolated incidents already across the country, and rumors of more to come on the big day, voter suppression has become a very real concern this election cycle. Monáe has teamed up with HeadCount and Election Protection to promote a new anti-voter suppression hotline in case voters find themselves in a situation.

Meanwhile, in true Monáe fashion, she’s also spreading her message through the mysterious “Flies4Demoocracy” campaign spearheaded by Mike Pence’s famous TV debate foe, Flyrene. “If I could vote, I would absolutely exercise my right to vote,” Flyrene informs us. “I am flies for voting, and flies against sexism, racism, fascism…we need to make sure that our LGBTQ+ communities are protected, that black lives continue to matter and thrive. We stand with you.”


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Hiii! It’s @Flyyyyyrene the AMERICAN FLYCON here! First, I’d like to thank you all for the cards, gifts, gourmet garbage baskets, and all the love you have shown me since the debate. It’s honestly been a whirlwind. Today, I’m here on behalf of #Flies4Democracy to buzz in your ear about VOTING. If I could vote I would. I encourage those who are undecided to please vote in my honor! I risked my life landing on that brittle white combover toupee at the debate to stand up for marginalized voices! Please vote to protect the rights and lives of marginalized communities everywhere. With your vote you remind politicians that they work for YOU! And that YOU HOLD THE POWER! The future depends on YOU! Buzzing off now! This is a #Flypartisan message. ???? @jenrosencopter

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Stevie Wonder celebrates Michigan in Joe Biden Ad
With Michigan once again poised to be a key swing state, music legend Stevie Wonder is throwing his influence behind the Biden/Harris ticket with a campaign ad. The clip, produced by MeidasTouch, finds Wonder shouting out his home state. He also takes the current administration to task. “You know, I was born in in Saginaw, raised in Detroit, and my heart belongs to Michigan,” Wonder says in the video. “It was in Michigan that I wrote and sang songs for all the people in this country. If you believe in Michigan, you just know there is power in your hands.”

Big Boi, Killer Mike, Big Rube, and Sleepy Brown bring “We the Ones” to Fallon
While Seth Myers had the late night score of the evening booking Tracy Chapman, the Tonight Show provided space for a funky protest with Big Boi and Sleepy Brown’s recent update to Organized Noize’s “We the One,” along with Killer Mike and Big Rube. Originally released by the ATL production crew Organized Noize in 2017, the lyrics remain incredibly timely in this moment:  “Stand up to oppression/Stand up to all aggression/Stand up, it’s time to choose/So your children will never lose/Stand up, you know it’s right/Stand up with all your might.”

Patti Smith takes “People Have the Power” to the streets

None other than punk legend Patti Smith and her longtime bandmate Lenny Kaye surprised early voters lined up on the streets of NYC, performing her iconic protest anthem “People Have the Power,” reminding everyone at the end: “Don’t forget it! Use your voice! Vote!” The video was shared by Joy to the Polls (via Zoe Leonard), who have also commissioned a voting playlist series including contributions from Questlove, Jason Isbell, Billie Joe Armstrong, Black Thought, My Morning Jacket,  and more.


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Beyoncé endorses Biden/Harris on Instagram
When you’re the queen of pop with more 155 million followers, an Instagram endorsement carries serious weight. Bey made it quite clear who she’s supporting in the 2020 election, asking that voters in her home state of Texas “come thru” and do the same.


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Come thru, Texas! #VOTE ????

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The artist doubled down with a second post exclaiming that “The Most Important Drop is at the Ballot Box.”


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