First Lady Michelle Obama knows how to throw an event. And for her next shindig, she’s partnering with The Roots to bring a party with a purpose during a time when we could all use a good reason to celebrate. On Tuesday When We All Vote, the voting rights organization founded by the former first lady, announced that it would be partnering with The Roots Picnic 2020 for a virtual festival experience.
“As we face one of the most challenging years for our nation, we could all use a moment of inspiration and light to help focus on what we can do to take action together—and that action is voting,” said When We All Vote Managing Director of Communications and Culture Stephanie L. Young in a press release shared with ESSENCE. “When We All Vote is on a mission to change the culture around voting and we are committed to closing the age and race gap of those who show up at the ballot box, increasing participation in each and every election.”
Over the past 12 years, The Roots Picnic has become a popular summer destination for people in the NY-NJ-PA tristate area and beyond. From 2,500 people in a Philly parking lot in June 2008 to 40,000 in Fairmount Park in 2019, the annual event is undeniably significant to the culture. The 2020 picnic was postponed due to the coronavirus, but the planners are still giving the people a taste of what attendees have grown to love. Obama is hoping to tap into the enthusiasm for the moment and get attendees excited about the voting process.
“To change the culture means we have to be in the culture, and iconic events like The Roots Picnic, a celebration of the most influential artists of today, is just that,” said Young. Talent for the 2020 Roots Picnic includes The Roots, H.E.R., Lil Baby, Roddy Rich, SZA, Kirk Franklin, Snoh Aalegra, Earthgang, G Herbo, Polo G, D-Nice and Musiq Soulchild (backed by The Roots).
Organizers say the partnership comes from a “shared ethos of wanting to reach the most underrepresented community of people when it comes to voting, Black people between the ages of 21 and 35.” In that sense, Obama’s When We All Vote and The Roots are aligned. Both have a mission to educate the community on the importance of its voice, while also leading as an example of how each person can make a difference.
Starting today and continuing throughout the June 27 broadcast event that will be streamed live on YouTube, there will be a call to action to allow fans to register to vote by visiting weall.vote/rootspicnic or by texting ROOTS to 56005. On the day of the party, viewers will be able to access a voter registration portal in the live chat section of the event. The goal is to engage 500,000 eligible voters and get them excited to vote in the upcoming elections.