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Get Into These Black Women Running For Office In The 2018 Midterm Elections

Let's vote for #BlackGirlMagic on November 6.

Politics

This is it. You have the ball with 10 seconds to shoot. You are at the final stretch of a marathon. You have the chance to be a part of a history-making moment.


The final countdown to the 2018 Midterm Elections have officially begun.

There is so much at stake during the upcoming midterm elections cycle – immigration, gun control, affirmative action, reproductive health, police accountability, environmental protection, and more. If you don't vote, particularly in elections impacting your local communities, you are leaving your future and the future of those around you in the hands of those who may not have your best interest at heart. Take your power back. VOTE!

Related: Why It's Important To Use Our Voices To Vote

Amplified by initiatives like Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Yara Shahidi's EighteenX18, Black women are coming together to encourage midterm voting and supporting a number of candidates, specifically the unprecedented number of Black women running for local and statewide positions across the country.

There are 57 Black women running for office in the 2018 midterm elections but to make sure you know any and every one that is running for office during the midterm elections, do your research by clicking here. Out of those 57 women, we've compiled a list of some influential names to look out for in the 2018 midterm elections. From Stacey Abrams (Georgia) to Maxine Waters (California), Black women – our mothers, sisters, aunties, and neighbors – are depending on us to be more than party supporters and organizers, but to take #BlackGirlMagic all the way to the polls.

These are the candidates to watch and rock your vote for:

Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding

via Pantsuit Politics

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress In Colorado's 5th District

Why She's Running:

Dr. Stephany Rose Spaulding is both a pastor and a professor, but perhaps her biggest title will be the one she rocks as the first Black person to rep for the state of Colorado in Congress. According to Harper's Bazaar, her interest in running for elected office first sparked at the Women's March and as a result she's running because "Congress is overwhelmingly white and male, as an institution, it can't possibly grasp the challenges and aspirations of a nation that is significantly more female, and ethnically and culturally diverse. Our people deserve leaders in Washington who truly represent them because they come from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Governor of Georgia

Why She's Running:

Stacey Abrams is a name that has been making waves in the headlines in the past year and has only intensified in recent months. And it's largely because she is a force to be reckoned with. The multi-hyphenate will go on to become the first Black female governor to ever hold that title in the United States, as well as the first Black woman to be nominated for governor by a major party for any state. Think about that. "We need a variety of perspectives at the decision-making table to ensure that no one is left out and left behind in our political system. I grew up in a working poor family, and my parents raised their six children with the values of faith, family, service, and responsibility. Those same beliefs guided me as I began my career in politics and guide me now as I run to become governor of Georgia," she told Harper's Bazaar, "I know that our beginnings do not dictate who we will become in the future. That is why I am running for governor of Georgia—to give those who do not see themselves represented in politics the opportunity to live up to their highest potential."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Lauren Underwood

Lauren Underwood

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress in Illinois' 14th District

Why She's Running:

At 31, Lauren Underwood is the youngest Black woman that's running for Congress this year, reigning supreme in her win for nomination over six mostly white candidates. She's also the first woman in her district to ever earn a Democratic nomination. The former Obama administration appointee and registered nurse said to Refinery29, "I decided to run for Congress when our congressman Randy Hultgren voted to take healthcare away from folks like me, people with pre-existing conditions."

For her, the erasure of basic human rights was enough to light the fire of her purpose. She continued, "The opportunity this year is to elect a Congress that better represents the experiences of the American people. Real lives, real families who for so long have not had a voice in the decision-making process in Washington."

Go Black Girl Magic, go!

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Jeannine Lee Lake

Jeannine Lee Lake

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress in Indiana's 6th District

Why She's Running:

Jeannine Lee Lake is yet another Black woman making history as a "first" this election season. She is the first Black woman to win a nom for a major party to run for Congress. For her, the decision to run had a lot to do with her four children, all of whom she adopted. Like most parents, she wants them to live their best lives. And that's rooted in politics. "My daughter asked me one day if the President of the United States hated Black people. I did not feel comfortable telling her that the President did not hate Black people," she admitted to Harper's Bazaar. "As I looked around the heartland I realized that this country and my beloved Indiana had become divided. Under the current leadership we had not seen the change that had been promised: better healthcare, no worry if a pre-existing condition exists, higher wages, and inclusiveness for all."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Ayanna Pressley

Ayanna Pressley

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress in Massachusetts' 7th District

Why She's Running:

Ayanna Pressley is no stranger to politics. In fact, back in 2009, she became the first woman of color to ever be elected to have a seat at the table in the Boston City Council. More recently, in 2016, the New York Times noted her as one of 14 democrats to watch. And in 2018, she is showing us why by running for Congress in Massachusetts' 7th District, which will make her the first Black woman to represent the state in the House of Representatives. She has often been heard arguing that "the people closest to the pain should be the closest to the power." And in a recent debate, she said, "I'm not going to pretend that representation doesn't matter. But, it doesn't matter in how inclusive and represented we are. It matters because it informs the issues that are spotlighted and emphasized, and it leads to more innovative and enduring solutions. That's why it matters. You cannot have a government for and by the people if it is not represented by all of the people."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Melanie Levesque

Melanie Levesque

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Senate in New Hampshire

Why She's Running:

Women are running the world for New Hampshire, as they sent their historical first-ever all-female delegation to Congress. On par with that theme, Melanie Levesque is in the running to be the state's first-ever Black senator. And she believes she's more than qualified to be the woman for the job, boiling it down to the intersectionality of her identity, as well as empathy. She told Harper's Bazaar, "I wear many hats. I am a wife, mother, small business owner, and volunteer in my community. I am a woman of color who understands what it is like to be a minority. I bring many different perspectives to the table, but mostly the ability to listen, empathize and find common ground with the people I meet."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Erika Stotts Pearson

Erika Stotts Pearson

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress in Tennessee's 8th District

Why She's Running:

Erika Stotts Pearson will be the first Black woman to hold a seat in Congress from Tennessee if she wins this election day. She draws inspiration and gains drive from influential trailblazers like Shirley Chisholm, who was notably the first Black woman to ever run for President. She told Harper's Bazaar, "'You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines. You make progress by getting in the race and implementing ideas.' That quote sums up why I am running for Congress. I want to inspire people—especially women—to work hard and work together, because our goal is to bring opportunities back to our communities. There has never been a time better than now. Women want our voices at the table."

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

Maxine Waters

Jason Bell/Glamour

Political Party:

Democrat

What Office She's Running For:

Congress in California's 43rd District

Why She's Running:

I'm sure by now we are all privy to Auntie Maxine's "reclaiming my time" mantra, as well as the icon she's developed into for Liberals everywhere. Aside from her public disdain for Number 45 and never mincing her words, what the politician is using her influence for the most is as her status as Congresswoman for California's 43rd District. This year, Maxine was named one of TIME Magazine's Most Influential People and in a bio written by Yara Shahidi, this was said: "You would think that 41 years of public service would make Congresswoman Waters tired, but her laser focus is unmatched. When other policymakers criminalize protests, she is there, verbalizing our pain. She fights for funding to support neglected communities. And she takes to Twitter to raise her voice on our behalf, regardless if Congress is in session. In this time of sociopolitical unrest, Congresswoman Waters has been the brilliant, tenacious representative of the people that we all need."

In the 2018 Midterm election, Maxine Waters is once again running for Congress and we the people who identify with her unapologetic nature and her devotion to advocating for marginalized communities, definitely say she has our vote.

Learn more about her stance on the issues here.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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