NEW YORK – Trendsetters, fashionistas, rappers — P. Diddy (search) wants you.
Specifically, he's looking for the "sexy people" to help him entice young people and minorities to vote in the presidential election, as part of his new nonpartisan voting initiative called Citizen Change (search).
"Now we're going to make voting cool," the hip-hop mogul/Broadway actor/marathon runner/fashion designer/perpetual A-lister proclaimed as he trotted out fresh young faces, supermodels and even Democratic strategist James Carville (search) at an event to begin his drive.
"For the first time in history, we're going to make voting fashionable," he said.
Of course, this hardly is the first time a celebrity has been involved in politics, or that rockers or rappers have tried to get out the vote. In recent years, Rock The Vote has enlisted stars including Madonna to appearing in public service announcements urging young people to vote, while MTV and BET have had campaigns to increase voter registration. And another hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons, has had his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (search) hold several gatherings in cities across the nation to register voters.
"I think that Rock the Vote and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has given birth to this organization," said P. Diddy. "(But) I wanted to launch a new energy at a new time."
Citizen Change plans to link up with MTV, BET, Clear Channel and other media outlets to increase voter awareness, and P. Diddy said there will be registration drives on college campuses and education initiatives to make people more aware of the election and the issues.
The organization will hold functions tied to both the Democratic and Republication conventions. P. Diddy also said both President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry will be invited to participate in Citizen Change events.
"It will be equal, 50-50," P. Diddy said.
P. Diddy already has enlisted stars Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige for the effort, and labels such as Ecko, Phat Farm, and his own Sean John have been tapped to create clothing featuring the initiative's motto — "Vote or Die!" — which Diddy himself wore at the news conference.
But it wasn't all serious.
Models Tyson Beckford and Lucas provided eye candy as they modeled the T-shirts, and P. Diddy provided plenty of levity.
When he said the group would charter a jet to travel to swing states to make an impact, he added: "We will have mimosas on the jet. We're going to have the sexiest jet!"