Although Asian Americans have been reported to be one of the fastest growing racial groups in the U.S., voter participation and turnout among the community continues to be lower than any other demographic group — something that dozens of artists across the country are hoping to change through music.
“Voices of Our Vote: #MyAAPIVote Album,” a new album presented by digital activist group 18MillionRising and aimed at encouraging Asian Americans to go to the polls, features 32 “politically empowering tracks” addressing topics from identity to citizenship by musicians including indie group St. Lenox, “party band” Red Baraat, rapper Jason Chu, YouTube personality Andrew Gunadie, band Awaaz Do, and more.
“We’re asking all Asian Americans — everyone from the API [Asian Pacific Islander] community — to push to vote this fall,” Tanzila Ahmed, 18MillionRising campaign strategist, told NBC News.
The album, released September 6 and produced in partnership with Asian-American digital curation platforms and organizations Traktivist, Kollaboration, Tuesday Night Project, and Mishthi Music (a blog that highlights South Asian American music and artists that Ahmed also writes for), will also accompany the launch of 18MillionRising’s #MyAAPIVote campaign, which hopes to mobilize and connect with the Asian-American community in the digital space.
“We are going to be hosting some Twitter conversations and events around the debate and a Google town hall,” Ahmed said. “We’re basically taking all the traditional field activities to get out the vote and we’re going to be putting an Asian American digital twist and figure out a way to connect them digitally.”
This is not the first album launch Ahmed has worked on — in 2013, she helped release “Beats for Bangladesh,” a benefit album to raise awareness about the working conditions of Bangladeshi workers following the factory building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh — but this time with “Voices Of Our Vote,” Ahmed said she wanted to explore the possibility of using the arts as a way to mobilize the API community during a high-stakes election.
Christine Minji Chang, executive director of Kollaboration, told NBC News that Kollaboration is proud to partner on the launch of the album and #MyAAPIVote campaign, adding that the support for the project from those involved “has been a clear reflection of the passion and momentum in the AAPI community in making sure our stories are heard.”