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Georgia-bred entertainers including filmmaker Tyler Perry and hip-hop stars Jermaine Dupri and Jeezy added their voices to the decisive Georgia runoff elections Tuesday, which will determine which political party will control the U.S. Senate.
Perry, who opened the only Black-owned major film studio in the country in Atlanta in 2019, put out a public plea on Twitter this week after never receiving his absentee ballot. Several came to his aid with instructions, including democracy advocate and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is credited with turning Georgia blue in the November presidential election. She urged Perry to vote in person if he could.
And he did. The "Madea" star flew back to his home state Monday so he could vote in the state’s Senate runoff elections because it was "too important to miss." On election day, Perry posted a video saying he remedied the issue by voting in person and encouraged others to do so too. "Get out and vote, get out and vote, get out and vote," he said.
Hey @staceyabrams, I flew home because I didn’t get it. I will be there early in the morning. Too important to miss. Too important to miss!
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) January 4, 2021
Appearing on CNN, "I Do" rapper Jeezy advocated for fellow Black Americans in his state and across the country.
"I had humble beginnings, and I understand my influence," he said. "For the longest time, my culture feels like we've been alienated from politics. So now we have a say. So I just want to make sure we all understand that our vote counts, our voices count and our numbers count."
Dupri, the mega music producer who has worked with Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin, TLC and Alicia Keys, also told CNN that activism isn't new to Georgia: "We all have been active one way or another without actually getting paid to do this, without actually even doing interviews and all this type of stuff. It's just something that we do in the city."
— Eliott C. McLaughlin (@ByEliott) January 5, 2021
The hip-hop all-stars are just a few who helped clinch the presidential election for Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.
On the Tuesday ballot are incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler vying against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively. If Democrats prevail in the two races, their party would unseat the GOP-led Senate and its majority leader, Mitch McConnell, also giving the upper chamber's tie-breaking vote to incoming Vice President Harris.
Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B, who lives in Atlanta and has openly criticized Donald Trump, his administration and Republicans, took to Instagram Monday to explain why she thinks McConnell should go and his role in blocking a vote for $2,000 stimulus checks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It’s time to step up and vote! We don’t know where the world will be this year, next year or maybe 5 years from now but we can’t have people like MITCH make decisions on people he don’t relate to or even give a damn about !!!" the "WAP" rapper wrote, sharing a video decrying McConnell's political decision.
Those local efforts have also been backed by many in Hollywood, which has long been a financial booster for Democratic candidates. In fact, the Georgia races have drawn an unusual level of interest from an entertainment industry that has deep and growing ties to the state.
Abrams and her Fair Fight initiative have been rallying voters for months and have been joined by celebrities to increase voter turnout and fight voter suppression. Fair Fight has put on a series of star-studded fundraisers to boost finances and visibility, including December's "Broadway for Georgia" and "Celebrity Autobiography" fundraising events.
It all came to a head Tuesday, as celebs took to their social media accounts for last-ditch efforts to rally voters. Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Audra McDonald, Lady Gaga, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Ruffalo were among those who weighed in.
Here's a look at what they had to say:
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 5, 2021
Georgia, a state of superheroes. About to save this democracy 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 5, 2021
Georgia, TODAY is Election Day! If you're an eligible Georgia voter and haven't voted yet, visit https://t.co/gpcgRwaeUq to find your polling place or where to drop off your mail ballot in your county! Vote for @ossoff + @ReverendWarnock, GA! #CivicsForTheCulture pic.twitter.com/weolCzuWMy
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 5, 2021
Georgia today is the BIG day! Let's turn Congress blue with @ReverendWarnock & Jon @ossoff 🌊🌊Polls are open until 7pm. Bring your ID! Free car rides are avail w/ Lyft. Here's a video about how I met @ReverendWarnock back in 2018 when I was filming Avengers 💚 #GAonMyMind #gasen pic.twitter.com/CubXjWw4JP
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) January 5, 2021
Let’s do this Georgia! 81 million + people are counting on you to take us across finish line!!! https://t.co/NQ3vUSVhyK
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) January 5, 2021
All eyes are on you, Georgia! Polls are open! Let's get this!!! :)
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) January 5, 2021
Georgia Democrats- Dems have had a history of not turning out for runoff elections the same big way they do for generals. But hey, since this past year has been all about doing things a little differently, whadayasay we change that history up and push things forward today... https://t.co/z9Ky4jskrt
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) January 5, 2021
Today’s the day, Georgia friends!
The stakes are high & control of the Senate will change the direction of our country.
Harness the most powerful tool you have: your vote.
Vote and encourage your family and friends to do the same. #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/cvb03JhfIK
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 5, 2021
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 3, 2021
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.