Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Monica Hernandez to Moderate the Next Democratic Presidential Debate

Monica Hernandezis getting political…

The Latina broadcast journalist and WMUR-TV anchor/reporter will serve as a moderator at the next Democratic presidential debate, alongside ABC News chief anchor George StephanopoulosWorld News Tonight’s David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, and WMUR-TV’s Adam Sexton.

Monica Hernandez

The debate is set for February 7 at 8:00 pm ET in Manchester, New Hampshire, wedged between the Iowa Caucusesfour days before and the New Hampshire primary four days after.

The eighth debate of the primary cycle is hosted by ABC News, WMUR-TV and Apple News. It is set at St. Anselm Collegein Manchester and will air on ABCHearst Television’s WMUR-TV, Apple News and on ABC News Live.

So far, all six of the candidates who qualified for the previous debate – Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren— appear to have met the fundraising and polling thresholds to qualify for the debate. Another way in per Democratic National Committeerules would be to score a pledged delegate in Iowa.

The qualifying criteria involving grassroots fundraising (225,000 individual donors with 1,000 unique donors or more per state) likely will keep out candidate Michael Bloomberg, who is self-financing.

The previous debate hosted by CNNat Drake Universityin Des Moines, Iowa on January 14 drew an estimated 7.3 million viewers, a slight uptick from the 6.17 million who watched the debate in December, sponsored by PBSand Politico, and the 6.5 million who watched November’s event, hosted by MSNBC.

The New Hampshire debate is the second of four in each of the key voting states. Next up is February 19 in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC with The Nevada Independent, and February 25 in in Charleston, SC, hosted by CBS News, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Twitter.

Julian Castro to Take Part in 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues

Julian Castro will be discussing LGBTQ Issues later this week…

The 45-year-old Mexican American politician and Democratic US presidential candidate will take part in the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues.

Julian Castro

Hosted by Pose actress Angelica Ross, the forum is presented by GLAADOne IowaThe Gazette and The Advocate and will be livestreamed from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 20 at 7:00 pm CT.

In addition to Castro, whowas the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, participants include Joe BidenCory BookerPete Buttigieg, Tulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, Joe SestakElizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson. Country artist and contestant on season 11 of The Voice Billy Gilman is set to perform the National Anthem at the event.

A transgender activist, Ross will join GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellison stage tol bring LGBTQ specific-issues to the forefront of discussion in the 2020 presidential election. 

During the Forum, each candidate will discuss their plan and vision for improving LGBTQ acceptance in a divisive time for marginalized communities.

“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle,” said Ellis. “It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage.”

She adds, “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”

This comes at a time when members of the American LGBTQ community have faced more than 124 anti-LGBTQ attacks in policy and rhetoric from the Trump Administration. This includes the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military and the administration’s opposition to the Equality Act.

Julian Castro Among Democratic Presidential Candidates to Qualify for Next Debate

Julian Castro has made the cut…

The 44-year-old Mexican American politician and presidential hopeful is one of 10 Democratic candidates who’ve qualified for the next debate.

Julian Castro

ABC News and Univision will give each of the candidates slightly extra time to respond to questions than they were given at the last event, and they’ll be able to make opening statements but not closing remarks.

Since no more than 10 candidates made the cut to qualify, there will be just a single debate, on September 12. 

It’ll air from 8:00-11:00 pm ET on ABC and Univision from Texas Southern University’s Health & PE Center in Houston.

ABC News has also announced where the candidates will be standing on the stage. The order, from left to right, will be: Amy KlobucharCorey Booker,Pete ButtigiegBernie SandersJoe Biden,Elizabeth WarrenKamala HarrisAndrew YangBeto O’Rourkeand Castro. 

Candidates leading in the polls — Biden and Warren — were placed at the center, with the other candidates fanning out from that point based on their ranking.

ABC Newschief anchor George StephanopoulosWorld News Tonight anchor David Muir, correspondent Linsey Davisand Univision anchor Jorge Ramoswill moderate.

Candidates will be given one minute and 15 seconds to respond to direct questions, and 45 seconds for other responses and rebuttals, ABC News said. That is a bit more time than CNNallocated for its debate coverage on July 30-31, when candidates were given a minute to respond and 30 seconds for rebuttals. Some critics complained that candidates weren’t given enough time or had to abruptly finish when their time expired.

Perez: First Latino Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

The United States has its first Latino Democratic Party chairman… And, his name is Tom Perez.

The 55-year-old Dominican American politician, consumer advocate, and civil rights lawyer, a former Labor Secretary, beat out Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison a hotly contested race to lead the Democratic Party as their new chairman, and their first-ever Latino leader, on Saturday.

Tom Perez

Perez defeated Ellison in a 235-200 vote among the Democratic National Committee‘s 435 members who cast ballots Saturday.

It took two rounds of voting to select a winner after Perez found himself just one vote shy in the first ballot. The five other candidates, who had amassed 13.5 total votes, all exited the race before the second round began.

In a victory speech, Perez vowed that Democrats would wage an all-out battle to deny Trump a second term.

“We are at a ‘where were you?’ moment in American history: Where were you in 2017 when we had the worst President in US history?” he said.

Immediately after winning, Perez made a quick move to bring Ellison’s supporters into the fold — appointing Ellison as the deputy chair of the DNC, to cheers and unanimous approval from the crowd.

Ellison called on Democrats to support Perez.

“It’s my honor to serve this party under the chairmanship of Tom Perez,” he said.

The results brought a chaotic close to a race that stretched on for three months. In the waning days, former Vice President Joe Biden and several aides to former President Barack Obama — including Valerie Jarrett and David Simas — made calls to undecided members in an effort to sway them toward Perez.

In Ellison’s camp, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and supportive members of Congress applied pressure on DNC members with phone calls.

Obama touted what he said was the party’s track record of expanding the economy, creating new jobs, keeping Americans safe through “tough, smart” foreign policy, and expanding the right to health insurance.

“That’s a legacy the Democratic Party will always carry forward,” Obama said. “I know that Tom Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much.”

In a tweet, Hillary Clinton congratulated Perez and Ellison, writing: “Excited for strong, unified party standing for best of our country into the future.”

Perez, a Maryland Democrat who worked in Obama’s Justice Department before serving as labor secretary and making Clinton’s short list for the vice presidential nomination, made overtures to Ellison’s backers in his nomination speech before the votes were cast.

“Good leaders are great listeners. You will always have my ear, and I will always have your back,” Perez told the crowd, promising to “plan strategy together, lift each other up together.”

“You will not be underutilized,” he said. “You are of import in everything we do. The most important question you will hear from me is, ‘What do you think?'”

Trujillo & His Metallica Band Mates Perform New Single “Moth Into Flame”

Robert Trujillo is flaming out…

The 51-year-old bassist and his fellow Metallica band mates debuted the second song off their new studio album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on national television on Thursday.

Robert Trujillo & Metallica

Metallica guested on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and performed the headbanger “Moth Into Flame.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers certainly got a spirited introduction. Leading into the performance, Fallon accurately called them “one of them most influential rock bands in music history” and Vice President Joe Biden — who was also guesting on the show — shouted them out on Twitter: “my house band, Metallica.”

Hardwired… To Self-Destruct will be released on November 18, 2016.

del Toro Joins U.S. Presidential Campaign Aimed at Halting Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Benicio del Toro is shining a spotlight on a big problem on college campuses…

The 47-year-old Puerto Rican actor has joined a U.S. presidential campaign aimed at halting sexual assault on college campuses.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.09.13 AM

In a PSA video that also features Barack Obama, vice president Joe Biden and stars such as comic and talk show host Seth Meyers, Daniel Craig and Steve Carell, del Toro speaks out in support of the “1 is 2 Many” initiative.

“We have a big problem. And we need your help,” declares the Oscar-winning actor in the 60-second clip. “If she doesn’t consent, or she can’t consent, it’s rape, it’s assault,” he adds later.

“It’s happening to our sisters and our daughters, our wives and our friends,” the actors say in the White House-produced video. “It’s called sexual assault, and it has to stop.”

The video campaign is part of the White House task force to protect students from sexual assault and will air in movie theaters across the country, as well as on US military bases and ships across the world.

Said Craig in a statement to The Wrap: “I am honoured to be part of such an important and crucial project. The message is clear and simple: everyone has a responsibility. There are no exceptions. There are no excuses. Please watch it and pass it on.”Benicio del Toro

Justice Sotomayor Swears In Vice President Joe Biden

Sonia Sotomayor has managed to etch her name in history once again…

The 58-year-old Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice, the first Hispanic person to join the nation’s highest court, administered the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday morning, making her the first Hispanic to swear in a president or vice president.

Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor was personally selected by Biden to do the honor.

“From the first time I met her, I was impressed by Justice Sotomayor’s commitment to justice and opportunity for all Americans, and she continues to exemplify those values today,” said Biden. “Above all, I’m happy for the chance to be sworn in by a friend – and someone I know will continue to do great things.”

Sotomayor administered the oath before attending to another responsibility on that day: signing copies of her new autobiography at a New York City bookstore just a few hours later.

Biden’s office scheduled the swearing-in for 8:00 am ET to give Sotomayor enough time to catch a train for a three-hour ride to New York, where she was due to speak at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhattan at 2:30 pm and sign copies of her memoir, My Beloved World.

Sotomayor’s schedule was squeezed, however, when the private ceremony at the vice president’s Naval Observatory residence began more than 20 minutes late after a Mass for Biden’s friends and family.

Before Sotomayor departed, Biden made clear he appreciated her sticking around to give him the oath of office.

“I wanted to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was and how much out of her way the justice had to go,” Biden said after the short event attended by family and about 120 guests.

“She is due in New York. She has to leave right now, so I apologize,” Biden said. “We are going to walk out, you see her car’s waiting so she can catch a train I hope I haven’t caused her to miss.”

Despite the time constraints, Sotomayor delivered the vice presidential oath flawlessly before noon on Sunday, the day mandated by the constitution for the president’s official term to begin.

Biden and Sotomayor will do it all one more time on Monday, at the public inauguration ceremony on Capitol Hill in front of a crowd that could reach 800,000 people.

Eva Longoria to Co-Chair Presidential Inaugural Committee

Eva Longoria served as a co-chairwoman of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and gave an inspired speech at the Democratic National Convention… And now she’s playing an active role in his inauguration.

The 37-year-old Mexican American actress will serve co-chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, along with former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, the national finance chairman of Obama’s campaign.

Eva Longoria

Longoria and Barzun will be joined by Jane Stetson, the national finance chairwoman of the DNC, and Frank White, who served on the Obama administration’s National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises.

Obama’s second inauguration will again include a “national day of service” and his inaugural committee includes honorary chairman roles for the four living ex-presidents, according to the committee. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush will serve as honorary co-chairmen of the weekend.

Obama’s public inauguration events will take place on Monday, January 21, 2013, though he will be officially sworn in for his second term of office on January 20. The U.S. Constitution specifies a presidential term begins at noon on January 20th. The public events however will be held the next day because the 20th is a Sunday.

Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, will head the inaugural parade, while campaign deputies will lead efforts such as the national day of service, inaugural balls.

On the Saturday before his inauguration, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and members of each of their families will participate in a national day of service. They will encourage “Americans across the country to organize and participate in service projects in their communities,” the committee said.