by Stephen Garner

Hailey Bieber, motivated by her recent conversations around voter education and voting rights, came to Levi’s with the idea of creating a special PSA. One that would educate, encourage, and motivate the largest and most diverse generation in our country’s history—a group of 70 million young eligible voters—to talk about it, post about it and VOTE about it. Oge Egbuonu, an emerging filmmaker and one of this era’s most prolific creatives, immediately started researching effective ways to create an embracing and engaging call to action — something that could dramatically tell the story around voting and social justice.

Identifying the Harlem Renaissance as one of the most impactful movements in American history, Egbuonu thought about what the fight for social justice could look like outside of the traditional boundaries of organizing. She asked herself, how do we create something just as fervent and far-reaching as the Harlem Renaissance? PSAs are educational, but how do we make them impactful and profound? We are all in this collective space of relearning and re-educating, and the most powerful way to teach, and to inspire, she realized, is through art. To that end, Egbuonu creatively brought this campaign to life by directing motion videos set to artist Jazmine Williams’ spoken word poem.

Included in the campaign are researcher and educator Dr. Joy DeGruy, professor and civil leader Dr. Melina Abdullah, scholar and author Dr. Safiya Noble, actor and activist Brandon Flynn, activist Helen Jones, actor and musician Jaden Smith, filmmaker Jon M. Chu, student activist Kahlila Williams, musician Miguel, actor Ross Butler, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter youth branch Thandiwe Abdullah, attorney and CEO of IMPACT Strategies Angela Rye, poet Jazmine Williams, and actor Danny Trejo.

Everyone came together to collectively use their voices to educate and encourage everyone to VOTE. And ASL interpreter Rorri Burton was also brought on to make this PSA more inclusive and more accessible for all. Directed by Egbuonu, this passionate and persuasive PSA also features the work of photographer Djeneba Aduayom, who carried out her vision of capturing each individual voice in the form of portrait photos.

“I had a vision to put together a beautiful and powerful call to action to educate and inform the next generation of voters, and to me, Levi’s felt like the perfect team to partner with on this,” said Bieber. “Oge is an incredible force and she really helped me bring my idea to life. This election to me is the most important in my lifetime and I’m at the age now where I truly understand the impact my generation and the next has. My hope with this call to action is that it would encourage, educate, and inspire this next generation to vote in November and to understand why it’s important.”

“Representative John Lewis said in his final published piece, ‘The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society,’ added Egbuonu. “Reading that hit me at my core because one’s voice is extremely powerful and necessary to reimagining a world that chooses equity and care over oppression and exploitation, and one way to utilize one’s voice is to vote. So on Tuesday, November 3, activate your voice, activate your vote…see you at the polls.”

Levi’s will continue the #UseYourVoice LIVE series as a platform for spreading voter education and increasing engagement while helping to improve voter turnout by reducing obstacles and encouraging young people to take action. The series will feature activists, scholars, and organizers from the PSA, along with thought leaders from the 23 voting rights and engagement organization grantee partners that Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation are donating a collective $2.6 million towards in 2020. These efforts will work to remove barriers and improve access to the polls, mobilize voters in marginalized communities, and engage voters in the democratic process before, during, and after Election Day.


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