Yara Shahidi, star of “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” is raising her profile as a political activist with the official launch of an initiative urging young Americans to get involved politically — and vote in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.
Shahidi, who turned 18 on Feb. 10, has teamed with social-news publisher NowThis for Eighteen x 18, a content partnership that will run through the November 2018 elections. Under the partnership, Shahidi will join NowThis as a guest editor to contribute original pieces that will run across all of NowThis’s channels including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.
Over the seven-month campaign, NowThis will stage an Eighteen x 18 “takeover” of all its channels on the 18th of each month, starting Wednesday, April 18. The goal is to educate young people and drive them to register to vote online (at eighteenx18.com/registertovote).
“It’s more clear than ever that young people have both social and political power in our country, and it’s so important that everyone turning 18 this year engages in the political process,” Shahidi said in a statement.
Content for Eighteen x 18 will include features on rising candidates and young people in action; explainers of how the U.S. political system works; and segments deconstructing hot-button issues including criminal-justice reform, immigration, the environment and gun reform.
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The project came together through NowThis’s relationship with Michael Skolnik, CEO of Soze Agency, the social-activism agency that had been working with Shahidi on the concept for Eighteen x 18.
NowThis president Athan Stephanopoulos compared Eighteen x 18 to the way MTV partnered with Rock the Vote beginning more than two decades ago. “Yara is an incredible influence and a leader among her peers, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with her to bring Eighteen x 18 to our young and engaged audience,” he said.
Shahidi starred as Zoey Johnson in the first three seasons of ABC’s sitcom “Black-ish” as the oldest daughter of the Johnson family, earning an NAACP Image Award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. She took a recurring role at the end of the third season in 2017 to topline her own spinoff series for Freeform, “Grown-ish,” in which her character goes to college. The Minnesota native is repped by CAA, Principal Entertainment, and Hirsch Wallerstein.
NowThis launched in 2012 and in 2016 became part of Group Nine Media, the Discovery-backed company that rolled up Thrillist, The Dodo and Discovery’s Seeker. NowThis claims to reach 70% of U.S. internet consumers in their 20s, delivering more than 2.6 billion monthly video views for content spanning news, politics, entertainment, money, sports, food and other categories.
Watch Shahidi’s video announcing “Eighteen x 18”: