Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
Kim Gordon To Helado Negro: Artists Share "Why I'm Voting" Today
Across the country, Americans are making their way to the polls for Nov. 6's midterm elections. In many states, voting booths close at 7 or 8 p.m. and that is reason enough for music artists to continue asking their fans to vote. From Meek Mill to Kim Gordon, 24 artists told Pitchfork why they are voting during the 2018 Midterm elections. Here are a few of the highlights to inspire the music maker or lover in all of us to participate in the process and make our voices heard.
Singer/songwriter Margo Price is a strong advocate for women's rights. Back in July, she told the Recording Academy that "There's still a lot of work to be done" when it comes to the status of women in the U.S.
"I am voting on November 6th because I love my country. I am voting because women didn’t always have the right. I am voting because children shouldn’t be gunned down in school. I am voting because black lives matter," says Price. "I vote for those without healthcare. I vote for families who have been separated. I vote for a woman’s right to choose. I vote for an end to senseless violence and racism and hatred. Sometimes I vote for the lesser of two evils, but in the end I vote for equality for all, for what I think is right and true. I vote for peace.
Helado Negro aka Robert Carlos Lange every other day can be heard in experimental electronic productions. This year he is going to the polls to learn more about how he can directly make change.
"I’m voting to really learn more about how I can affect the environment around me," says Helado Negro. "I know that sounds so canned, but I’ve known very little about the people representing me and where I live [New York City] in government. Some of that is from being so transient but also from being completely disillusioned by the whole system. These past few years I’ve found myself trying to read and learn more about local government. Even if it’s a steep learning curve, it’s fulfilling to know and help people around me who might not know."
GRAMMY nominated artist Leon Bridges understands the power of voting. From his background to his family lineage, Bridges he knows first hand what it is like to not have a voice.
"I am a man of color who grew up in a household that wasn’t the wealthiest. I worked in kitchens alongside immigrants. I had family with debt due to medical bills. I refuse to be afraid to vote. My grandmother had to sneak out of her mother’s house to vote during the civil rights movement because her mother wouldn’t let her vote out of fear that something bad would happen. Sometimes it feels helpless, but things do not fix themselves. We have to show up and do the work and make our voices heard," says Bridges.
Singer/songwriter Julien Baker believes voting helps keep people in power accountable. Baker has used social media to talk about issues that are important to her, including gun control. This is why Baker is voting:
"I am voting in the midterm elections because I believe that when people engage with their local government, it reminds those placed in power that they are public servants who will be held accountable for their decisions. The midterms are a chance for people to vote out those they believe are failing to address the concerns of citizens."
Jeff Tweedy from the GRAMMY-winning band Wilco doesn't buy any excuses not to vote. "I feel angry at the selfish and thoughtless nature of those types of excuses," he said, which is why he is voting.
"Over the years, I've heard a lot of arguments against voting—like, 'it doesn't matter' or 'both sides are the same'—and I've never found any of them to be very persuasive. I've always figured that even if they're right, I'd still rather take some time out of my day and vote than shrug off my duty as a citizen and lose my right to bitch."
One of the reason punk band Sonic Youth's vocalist Kim Gordon is voting is to help make change with homelessness and mental illness. For her, voting is a powerful tool that has to be used to work.
"The United States—well, really the Disunited States today—is a body, and democracy a muscle," says Gordon. "Voting is our way of exercising it. Without this, our democracy will atrophy. When I vote, I feel a tingle of excitement. It’s a small power but it’s contagious, and it adds up when we come together to vote on issues and people who reflect our values.