De’Wayne: “We are in a moment where we cannot afford to be apathetic”

On the eve of the US Presidential Elections, De'Wayne – whose recent song 'National Anthem' reimagines a song that can unite, and crucially, bang – tells NME why he thinks indifference and apathy on a day as big as this is simply not an option

Hi. I’m De’Wayne. Some of you might know me and some of you might not but it’s nice to be here with you and thanks for hearing me out.

I’m not a naturally political guy. I’m really not. I grew up in a small suburb of Houston, TX with my eight brothers and sisters. We grew up saying ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘thank you, sir’. We were lower middle class, but happy. I never paid much attention to voting except for when Mr. Obama was elected. Man, did my melanin shine bright on the bus ride to school the next day!

But today we are in a moment where we cannot afford to be apathetic. I can see the temptation to check out but I promise it’s not cool to be that way. The world is facing a pandemic and the leaders we put in charge are the ones who make decisions that have a direct effect on our lives.

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Think about it for a second: most of the elected leaders don’t look like me and they don’t look like you either. These leaders are (mostly) old(!) white men who couldn’t relate to or help you navigate what it’s like to be young and worried about finding a job or helping your family put food on the table or watching your uncle get locked up or looking out for your auntie and letting her move into your place because she lost her job. And I don’t say these things as a bash on old, white men. Some of these guys have changed my life in positive ways.

But what I am saying is that this is OUR world and WE are the ones who gotta take charge and shape it. Most of us ain’t got a private jet or a six or seven-figure salary or stock options. We are just trying to make our way in the world and find a little bit of happiness along the way. We need to vote people into office who understand what we need and that means voting, period.

Voting for the President yes, but also voting in state and local elections. If you didn’t realise it before (because I definitely didn’t) this stuff really matters. These are our streets. Our institutions. Our culture. And tweeting and posting on social media is cute and all, but the only way to fully voice your opinion is to vote. Peace.

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