Raise your hand if TRL was your jam during the late ’90s and early 2000s. Me, too! Naturally, I was psyched when I learned that the show would be returning, albeit just for one night.
But there’s a twist this time: It’s no longer Total Request Live — it’s Total Registration Live. I love the idea. Why not use this generation’s most influential stars to get people excited to vote? They certainly did a good job of getting people on social media pumped.
While stars such as Joss Whedon and a few of our favorites from Stranger Things discussed a variety of issues, there was one definite theme to the night: racial justice. The topic came up again and again when celebrities were asked which issues were most influential in getting them out to vote. It became abundantly clear that the shootings of Philando Castile, Freddie Gray and countless others were weighing on the minds of TRL‘s top guests.
Vic Mensa’s racial justice discussion was especially memorable. He spoke at length about the recent violence in Chicago, claiming that it was the natural result of disinvestment in the community. He also mentioned Laquan McDonald, a teenager shot 16 times by a police officer in 2014. Mensa explained how, in the aftermath of McDonald’s shooting, his priority was voting a state attorney (who allegedly withheld video footage of the incident) out of office.
Common also believes in the power of the vote, especially during this volatile time. He admitted, “When I go out and vote, I’m thinking about who is going to bring us the most justice… not only on a federal level, but on a state and local level too.” He feels strongly that the current climate of hatred can be changed through the power of the ballot.
Both Mensa and Common make great points. Yes, grassroots movements are important, but nothing is going to ever get accomplished if people fail to get out and vote. I get that people aren’t big on the presidential candidates this year, but as Whedon made clear, that just means there’s an opportunity to come up with new and better options. Plus, as Common says, it’s about more than just the presidential election.
I think what MTV has done with TRL‘s brief revival is great — and I hope we get to see more when the next election cycle arrives!