Offset Says He Felt Misled About His Voting Rights Following Felony Conviction
The 28-year-old is reminding folks that their vote counts.
October 23, 2020 at 1:35 am
Rapper and entrepreneur Offset, who recently restored his right to vote, is collaborating with Rolling Stone in a campaign to bring awareness to the importance of voting.
The 28-year-old posted a public service announcement to his Instagram on Thursday that shared some of his past troubles being misinformed about his voting rights following a felony conviction as a youth.
According to Rolling Stone, the ad was inspired by a recent conversation Offset had with fellow rapper and activist Common where Offset revealed that he was told he lost his voting privileges' after that after his run-in with the law at 17 years old.
“After I caught my first felony when I was 17 years old, I felt like basically I ain't count,” he began. “My probation [officer] told me, ‘you can’t vote, you got a felony.’ It just made me feel like I wasn’t wanted or I wasn’t supposed to be involved.”
In the caption for the post, the "Clout" rapper dissuaded anyone from believing their vote didn't count.
"I was told my voice didn't count," he wrote. "It does. You don't think your voice counts? It does. My voice + your voice can make real changes. I'm figuring things out. You can too."
View this post on Instagram
I was told my voice didn't count. It does. You don't think your voice counts? It does. My voice + your voice can make real changes. I'm figuring things out. You can too. #EveryVoteCounts #Vote2020 #LearnTheIssues @common @aliciakeys @rollingstone @wearepushblack @whenweallvote ????: @frassysassy
In the video, the Migos member says it was his mother who inspired him to get more involved politically and socially, and helped him seek answers regarding his voting rights.
“I really feel good voting, like because I was told I couldn’t,” Offset said. “I was told I wouldn’t be able to clean up or get away from my past.”
With the 2020 presidential election looming, the Grammy-nominated rapper stressed how voting can improve one’s community by changing the rules that govern it.
“It still could be 10 times better, but you’ve gotta vote. That’s what changes the rules, change the laws,” he added. “I voted, and I was able to be a part of where I live, which is at home here in America. My voice matters.”
Offset’s video debuts as a number of Black entertainers have come out as first-time voters. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, 48, said the early absentee ballot he casted for president was his first ever vote, CNBC reports.
“You know I always like being honest on my podcast. I’ve never voted before, America,” Shaq said. ″[N]ow I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite.”
Boxing great Mike Tyson, 54, revealed that he also thought he was prohibited from voting because of his felony. In September, Tyson tweeted how liberated he felt to make the discovery and shared a link so others could register to vote, according to CNN.
“This election will be my 1st time voting,” he tweeted. “I never thought I could because of my felony record. I’m proud to finally vote."
Many states around the country prohibit felons from voting, affecting about 6 million Americans, but Tyson’s home state of Nevada signed a law to restore voting rights to all people convicted of a felony upon release from prison in 2019, which qualifies the boxer to vote in this year's election.
Offset’s PSA comes after he spoke up in March about wearing a mask in public during the coronavirus pandemic. Almost a month later, fans mourned with the rapper when he posted that his great uncle had passed from the virus, Blavity previously reported.