Singer Alicia Keys Talks 2012 Elections, Women's Issues and New Album
Keys has begun to campaign across the country for President Obama
Last week, singer and songwriter Alicia Keys hit the campaign trail at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The Grammy award winning musician helped to launch the Women's Vote 2012 Summit. The summit is geared to get the message out to women about the important role that they will play in voting in this year's upcoming election.
The presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is heating up and both candidates are offering women voters very different agendas. President Barack Obama has been a strong advocate for women in regards to equality in the workplace, healthcare and education. On the other hand, Mitt Romney has done the complete opposite when it comes to women issues. Romney has promised that if he is elected President, he will hand over decisions about women's health to employers, get rid of Planned Parenthood, and take away a woman's right to choose.
Alicia Keys has said this is among the many reasons why she has decided to campaign to re-elect President Obama. Speaking to a standing room only crowd of hundreds, Keys delivered a very powerful message to supporters about President Obama.
"I don't think anyone is surprised by Obama's record on women's issues, said Keys. "He was raised by a powerful woman, he married a powerful woman and now he is raising two powerful women. He definitely gets it! President Obama has done so much for us, and now it's our turn to collectively vote for him in November."
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I had a an opportunity to interview Alicia Keys during the Women's Vote 2012 Summit. Here is what she had to say about her role in the summit and the upcoming election.
Loop 21: Why was it important for you to get involved with the Women's Vote 2012 Summit?
Alicia Keys: This is an extremely important election. All elections are important, but this one requires that all of us get involved. It doesn't matter who you are, what your background is, or what your job is, everyone is going to be effected by what happens in this next election, so for me I want to do my part to make sure it goes the right way.
Loop 21: Do you ever second guess your decision to share your political views with the public for fear of a backlash?
Alicia Keys: People are very sensitive about politics. You want a fight, you talk about politics. I think each person has the right to believe, what they want to believe in and vote for someone that represents what they are looking for in their life. That is my prerogative as well. We don't always have to all agree, but I can surely say what I believe and I know that some believe the same way as me.
Loop 21: What are the most important women issues of the upcoming election?
Alicia Keys: I think as women we have specific issues that we care about more because we are the nurtures and caretakers of our families. I believe healthcare, education and equal pay are all important issues for women.
Loop 21: How can people be involved in this election?
Alicia Keys: Finding your local field office and volunteering once a day or even a week. People can have their own parties to help spread the word, going on the internet and even making phone calls to convince people who are on the fence as to who they are going to vote for.
Loop 21: What do you want to accomplish by participating with the Women's Vote 2012 Summit?
Alicia Keys: I'm a woman, and I think there are so many incredible women in the world. We have a really strong, powerful demographic and we are not to be ignored. I think by us unifying, and being clear about our voice, and what the Obama administration is able to provide for us, given the support, we are allowing ourselves to have a strong voice in this election. By coming out here and meeting everyone (Philadelphia) it shows our equalness with men.
Loop 21: What is one reason that women should vote for President Barack Obama and Joe Biden?
Alicia Keys: You can tell that there is an obvious empowerment that they want to give to women. There is a view of women as equals and not a special needs group or an afterthought. There is an equality and empowerment component that is a very clear focus for us.
Loop 21: Many of artists including Nas and Young Jeezy have written songs for elections. Can we expect any music from you regarding the Presidential election?
Alicia Keys: My album is coming out soon, and strangely enough there has been some conversations as to how we can put something together. I really would write a song, and I think it is something that would fit really well with my album. I'm working on it, let's see how it all plays out, but I think it would work.
Loop 21: What words of encouragement would you give to the youth?
Alicia Keys: We are this country. There is not one movement that happened anywhere in the world that wasn't sparked by the youth. We are the strength, we are the visionaries! We have everything that it takes to create a really powerful message, there is no stopping us. You have to be proactive, as to what you want your future to be, because no one else is going to build it for you.