First-time voter Bow WowBow Wow is doing his part to spread democracy. The 21-year-old has been leading his own nonpartisan Walk Across America, a 15-city campaign, in conjunction with Declare Yourself and Black Youth Vote, to get young people out to the polls on November 4.
"It's really to bring awareness to the young people, to let them know to get out and vote and get active in the community," he told MTV News on Friday, when the campaign made a stop in New York City. He started that day's walk at Long Island University in Brooklyn, stopped at the famous Junior's diner, then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. "Eight years ago, we had the opportunity ... to get out there and vote. We showed up to the polls, but we didn't really do what we were supposed to do. And now we've got a second chance to correct that mistake."
Bow Wow said he credits divine inspiration for getting him involved in politics. "It just hit me like the Holy Ghost," he said, explaining that he came up with the Walk idea in order to use his fame for a good cause, rather than for shameless self-promotion. "It's not about record sales; it's not about promoting a movie. This is really just me out here. [I] just want to touch the people and just want to help 'em in any way I possibly can."
Bow Wow thinks the economy is the number-one issue concerning young voters. "I want [students] to feel comfortable when they go to class and not have to worry about no student loans, no credit, no high gas prices," he said. "We gotta get back to how we was. ... Wall Street is going downhill every second my G-Shock ticks. I mean, it's just crazy right now. I'm trying everything in my power to help uplift this whole youth movement, let 'em get out here and vote. We need it bad."
The Walk Across America continues in New Jersey on Monday (October 13), in Boston on Tuesday and in Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday. Then Bow's leaving it up to everyone else to take responsibility for themselves on Election Day.
"As young people, we'd rather be doing something else — we'd rather be at the mall; we'd rather be on YouTube; we'd rather be on MySpace. We'd rather be kickin' it with our friends," he said. "At the same time, you gotta be aware of what's going on, and I think that's why we fail, that's why we're in the position that we're in now."
But this year, Bow said, he's optimistic. "I got faith in the young people," he said. "I'm behind them 100 percent, and I know we're definitely gonna rise from this whole slump we're in."
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