Fresh off her historic Emmys win for Euphoria, Zendaya joined forces with Michelle Obama on Instagram Live to urge young people to vote. The duo convened virtually on Tuesday for Obama’s Registered and Ready Instagram Takeover event, a day-long initiative for her When We All Vote organization.
Obama began by acknowledging Zendaya’s victory, which made her only the second Black woman in history to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “Congratulations, Emmy winner, fabulous one,” Obama remarked, revealing that she had binged Euphoria. “I watched it, girl. I watched every episode. I’m so proud of you. Well, you’re winning Emmys and encouraging voter participation. You are a fashion icon. You’re doing it all.”
Conversation quickly turned to the power of young people protesting against racial inequality, a topic Zendaya touched on in her acceptance speech. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m very inspired by my peers who have continuously
been out in the streets doing good work and I think we should all honor that,” Zendaya said about the importance of voting in 2020. “And just all the history that has gotten into making sure that our vote counts, it matters. Now is as important a time as any to make sure that your voice is heard.”
Obama agreed with Zendaya, and said people of all ages should take the spirit poured into protesting with them to the polls on November 3. “A thing we have to remember is that protests are one part of what it takes to make change,” she explained. “And if we don’t follow-up those protests by going and voting, all of that hard work will go to waste and I don’t want to see that for your generation. To have worked this hard to use your voice in the streets and not to see that follow through in the election, would be just a critical mistake.
So for all you young people who were outraged by what you saw over the summer and it compelled you into the streets, take that same energy and use it to compel you to vote. Because nothing will change just by a hashtag or protests. I wish that were so because your generation is great at that. But in this democracy, the only thing that matters is what you do on election day.”
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Zendaya became the youngest Emmy winner in the history of her category on Sunday, so Obama made sure to motivate any Gen Z viewers who may have been watching their chat on Instagram. “You guys have an instinct about what isn’t working, who is gaslighting you, who you can trust, what the direction you want the country to go in,” she said, urging them not to get confused by long ballot measures. “You know in your hearts. You don’t have to even research that to know how you feel. You just need to not be intimidated by the process.”
The former First Lady later added, “Don’t ever stop protesting, don’t ever stop making your voices heard in the streets. Don’t ever stop using social media and a hashtag to get your points across. You just have to couple that with voting too.”
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