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Hip-Hop Filmmakers Get Out the Vote

Nobody doubts the profound impact both the youth vote and the hip-hop community had in electing Barack Obama as our 44th president in November. But back in 2004, teenagers were still considered the demographic least likely to head to the polls on election day.

That’s precisely why producer Gabriel Cheifetz tapped local Minnesota M.C. and hip-hop activist Chris Johnson (aka Shakademic) to reach out to the community via a politically-minded documentary, which resulted in ‘Battleground Minnesota.’ In the film, Shakademic puts a unique spin on his interviews, placing “G.O.P.” bling on then-Senator Norm Coleman and even giving former Vice President Walter Mondale a lesson in record scratching.

By helping bridge the gap between hip-hop and politics, Shakademic and his team of young filmmakers were able to use the language of their audience to spread a crucial message. As one interviewee says in the film, “You have the right to vote, so educate yourself and use it.”

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