In an effort to circumvent voter suppression tactics and confusion at the polls, award winning actress, Angela Bassett; Tonight Show bandleader, Kevin Eubanks; actress, LisaRaye McCoy Misick; and singer/actress, Brandy Norwood; are among the list of celebrities voicing public service announcements urging people to vote early or be first in line on Election Day. The joint initiative between American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) marks the second phase of their nonpartisan radio campaign aimed at ensuring African Americans cast a ballot that counts on Election Day. "We've already received numerous reports of possible voter suppression. It's essential to get the word out to vote early or be first in line to avoid the drama on November 4th," said Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO, NCBCP. "AURN is the largest African American owned radio network company reaching 20 million listeners weekly. We appreciate AURN and all of the celebrities involved, their help ensures that the critical message to vote early will reach our target audience." Jerry Lopes, president of program operations and affiliations for AURN adds, "I am pleased to join hands with Unity '08, a group of prestigious organizations working to protect the rights that our ancestor's fought and died for. It was also a great opportunity to engage these celebrities and refreshing to see so many who wanted to help in the effort to protect our right to vote. I thank and applaud all of them for donating their time to this vital effort."
Tanya Hart, host of AURN's "Hollywood Live" coordinated the Los Angeles effort. Other celebrities participating in the campaign include: recording artists, James Ingram, Earth, Wind and Fire's, Verdine White, Siedah Garrett, Doc Powell and Take 6's, David Thomas. From the big and little screens: Obba Babatunde, Ernest Harden Jr., Reginald Dorsey, Regina Taylor, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Rolanda Watts, Hattie Winston, LaTonya Richardson Jackson, TV game show host, Mark Walberg and from BET's "Sunday Best," Beth Payne. Ambassador Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence magazine, and political comedian, Shang, also participated in the campaign. In addition to making an appeal for African Americans to be first to vote in this historic election, phase two of the PSA campaign encourages people to call the NCBCP's Unity '08 voter assistance hotline, 866-MYVOTE 1, to locate their polling place in advance. On the ground, NCBCP state coordinators are hosting get-out-the-vote rallies, monitoring the polls, and mobilizing voters in states where early voting has already started. During the initial phase of the campaign AURN produced and distributed voter education PSA's, while NCBCP representatives were on the ground in 18 states registering voters, hosting education forums, and making sure eligible voters verified their registration. For more information about the NCBCP's Unity '08 campaign visit www.blackcampaign.org. To receive a copy of the PSA's contact Lenore Williams at AURN at 412-456-4098 or via email Lenore Williams.