2 Chainz shares message on formerly incarcerated voting rights


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2 Chainz is spreading the word about voting rights for formerly incarcerated people in a new video campaign.

In the video for When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that Michelle Obama and more stars co-chair, the rapper, 42, breaks down information on voting rights across the United States.

“As you know or may not know, me as well as many peers my age and where I’m from, have been either incarcerated maybe once or twice in their lifetime,” he says in the video. “And for those of you who have been through those unfortunate circumstances, I would like to notify you about some of the things and give you some real clarify about voting and your rights.”

In the video, the rapper goes on to explain that voting rights for formerly incarcerated people depends on what state you live in.

“If you live in Maine, Vermont or D.C., you never actually lose your rights to vote,” he says.

The video also includes information on which states require certain actions before rights are restored and what states automatically restore your rights.

In the United States, where there are about 2.3 million people currently incarcerated, the conversation surrounding voting rights has been long debated.

In 2014, Former Attorney General Eric Holder called for the repeal of state laws that restrict the voting rights of former prison inmates. At the time he said 2.2 million African Americans, or nearly one in 13 African-American adults, are banned from voting because of the laws.

In a 2020 opinion piece for USA TODAY, Jill “Soffiyah” Elijah, the Executive director of Alliance of Families for Justice, wrote, “When thinking about the disproportionate impact of incarceration on poor black and brown communities, this lost voting power is a significant matter of concern.”

2 Chainz added that he’s “spreading this small message to hopefully reach someone out there that don’t think they have the chance and opportunity to take this opportunity to vote on November 3rd.”

He continued, “I really feel like this election matters more than any other election of our lifetime… Your voice does matter. We need everybody’s voice in this particular moment.”

2 Chainz has had multiple run-ins with the law, starting at age 15 when he was convicted of felony cocaine possession. In 2014, he was charged with felony drug possession following an arrest the previous year after airport officials reported finding ingredients for the cough syrup-based mixture known as “sizzurp” in his checked baggage. He was also one of 11 people arrested on a charge of obstructing a police officer following a traffic stop in Oklahoma City in 2013.

The Atlanta-based rapper was a member of the rap duo Playaz Circle before going solo. His 2012 debut album, “Based on a T.R.U. Story,” topped the Billboard charts. He is also known for songs “It’s A Vibe,” “We Own It (Fast & Furious)” and “Gang Up” with Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa featuring PnB Rock.

Contributing: The Associated Press; Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

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