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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
9/27/2003 6:19:26 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include P. Diddy and Eminem.

It may seem an unlikely political partnership, but some of the biggest names in hip-hop have teamed up with the flamboyant world of wrestling in an attempt to persuade American youth that it is worth voting in the 2004 White House election.

The ‘Two Million More in 2004’ drive aims to increase the turnout of teenagers and 20-somethings by an extra two million compared to the 2000 ballot, pumping out the message that their voice counts through a series of events backed by leading rap stars including Eminem, P Diddy and Wyclef Jean.

"Many people across the world pay attention to the words of Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, Rev Run and others, much more than they do any politician," said Russell Simmons, the so-called Godfather of Hip-Hop and multi-millionaire founder of Def Jam Records.

"We have to get all those apathetic people to pay attention to the social and political landscape of this country."

The new alliance between Simmons’s Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and World Wrestling Entertainment - formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation - will register voters at hip-hop concerts and wrestling events around the country, hold rallies at colleges and high schools, and launch public service announcements and literature to promote voter registration and voting.

The 18-30 age group is a notoriously disengaged voting bloc - only around 30% took part in the 2000 presidential ballot. The winner was ultimately determined in Florida, where George W Bush was ruled to have beaten Democratic opponent Al Gore by a margin of just 537 votes.

"Young people may feel like voting is useless, and their vote doesn’t make a difference," said WWE wrestling star Maven Huffman.

"But in the last presidential election, Florida showed them how close an election can be. A lot of young people look up to us. I can take that excitement and enthusiasm and turn it to voting."

Over the past 20 years, reformed drug addict Simmons, 45, has turned hip-hop into a cultural phenomenon.

A powerful social and political activist, he has the ear of America’s street culture generation and has been courted by virtually every candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nomination.

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