The singer is using her concert dates to send an important message to her fans.
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to political participation in America is voter registration.
A lot of people want to vote, and they hold political opinions, but if they don’t register then they are not eligible to have a say. Voting in the US is not compulsory, as it is in other countries around the world. In 2016, 61% of Americans said that they had never been asked to register to vote, which would explain why millions of eligible citizens in the US are not on the electoral roll.
This is changing, slowly. In the 2018 midterm elections, voter registration broke records, particularly among the younger generations clamouring to ensure that their voices were heard. In the states of Florida and Arizona, for example, youth vote participation was up by 131% and 217% respectively. Overall, voters aged 18-29 made up 13% of the total voting population in 2018, an increase of 11% from the last midterms.
Young people want to have a say in politics. But getting registered is hard, especially if no-one shows you how to do it. Which is why Ariana Grande is sending a powerful political statement at her Sweetener nationwide tour and partnering with a voter registration organisation to have booths in all of her concert halls.
The stalls will be manned by teams from HeadCount, who will help fans understand voter registration and political participation, sign up or receive a reminder notification to do so when they turn 18. Fans who aren’t attending a concert can also text ARIANA to 40649 to register if they are over 18.
Grande and HeadCount have named the campaign #ThankUNextGen.
“Amazing news,” HeadCount tweeted. “Ariana Grande invited us to register voters on her Sweetener tour. Together, we designed #ThankUNextGen, a program to help Ariana’s fans to make their voices heard.”
The Sweetener tour only kicked off this week and already fans are voicing their support for the movement.
Grande has never shied away from using her platform to advocate for her political message. In the past, Grande has spoken out against President Donald Trump and in support of Black Lives Matter and gun reform.
In a 2018 interview, Grande revealed that she had received some backlash because of her opinions. “There’s a lot of noise when you say anything about anything,” Grande said. “But if I’m not going to say it, what’s the f**king point of being here? Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to shut up and sing my songs.”
She continued: “I’m also going to be a human being who cares about other human beings, to be an ally and use my privilege to help educate other people… Not only help people and comfort them, but also push people to think differently, raise questions, and push their boundaries mentally.”
Images: Getty, Unsplash