Usher says he knows Americans are “sick and tired” of pushing for change, but he’s urging them to “finish” the fight and use their voice to vote.
The R&B superstar made the comments during his appearance on Unfinished Business: Race and Equity in America, a live summit takeover of Twitch, on Friday, Oct. 16.
Speaking to veteran journalist Soledad O’Brien the 42-year-old R&B singer said, “If you find anything in life, find passion, and that will hopefully lead you in the right direction. The contribution you make today is the one that benefits someone else tomorrow. So in this moment offer, make an offering in the hopes that it will ring true to whoever looks at it.
“This thing that we want to see, that is change, is an ever turning wheel. And I think that we are all pushing the wheel one little bit at a time, 1 inch at a time. All of what we do helps to move that wheel forward. So I just engage on a level that is honest that is direct and true to you.
“I know, if I can candidly say it, I know you’re f***ing tired, I know you’re sick and tired of seeing change not happen in America, change not happen on a local level. But the only way that you’re going to do it is to get your ass up and vote. That’s it. And I know that’s harsh, but it’s the honest to God, deliberate truth to you. The only voice that you have in this is your vote.”
He added, “Otherwise we will continue to advocate, we will continue to protest, we will continue to fight, to peacefully protest and do what we can. But you’ve got to finish it. And it is in voting that you do so.
“I’m not being political in my stance in telling you who you should vote for. What I’m saying is, you’ve got to use your voice. Understand that many people came together in numbers and advocated for this ability to vote, got that right to vote. So it’s incomprehensible to not understand the sacrifice that was made for you to have this voice, and that you just not use it.”
During his livestream Usher, who recently welcomed a daughter with girlfriend Jenn Goicoechea, also spoke about the pain of seeing George Floyd die while being detained by police. While it inspired him to write the June 2020 song “I Cry,” the singer noted that his 2015 song “Chains” also addressed the issue. That song referenced the death of other unarmed Black men, like Eric Garner who died in New York in 2014 after being put in a police chokehold.
“It hit me to the core,” Usher told Soledad about Floyd’s death. “And it hit me to the core far before George Floyd, which is why I made ‘Chains.’ With ‘Chains,’ I saw an instigation [sic] of what was to come.
“And that was an outcrying of mankind, of people from all different walks of [life] to begin to advocate for change that we know we need to see… I offered the song in my exhaustion. That all I could do is cry, for what I was seeing. And that cry isn’t something that is silent. It is going on the front line, it is making our signs, it is going out for peaceful protests… This song is a statement for this time.”
The live summit continues through Sunday, Oct. 18 on Twitch. Sponsored by the University of Southern California and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, digital live stream will bring together a wide variety of high profile people to discuss racial inequality in America, including politicians, academics and artists.
If you feel inspired by Usher’s message and you’d like to make your voice heard during this election, you can register to vote here: