🗳️2020? it’s up to us

a voting special

You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: Politics goes virtual as we bop about with Biden (a ‘sign’ of things to come 🤞), WAP takes on a new meaning and Fetch 💅 is put back on the menu. 

Drink up  🐸☕

what we’ve been sipping on

Since we’re only two months away from arguably the most important election of our lifetime, we thought: *Rihanna voice* ‘let’s start there.’ Lest we forget, since the last election Gen Z has increased in age and influence. Now, according to Pew, those aged 18 to 23 make up 10% of eligible voters, up from 4% in 2016 when the White House turned orange, iykyk. That’s 24 million Zs with the opportunity to cast a ballot in November. 👁👄👁

Are boomers worried? They should be. Zs are not particularly enchanted by the current POTUS, with only 19% of Knight’s Foundation survey respondents having a particularly favorable view of Trump. Plus, those betting their bottom dollars that Zs will have a hard time getting out of bed for the occasion better think again. So get in losers, we’re highlighting some of the incredible initiatives led by Z brands and zoomers themselves, which have caught our eyes this week.

i said, certified voter...seven days a week 

WAP stands for: 

W – when

A – are you going to

P – participate in the political establishment and vote #45 out? Jk...unless

Listen, it wouldn’t be a true 🐸☕dispatch without a lil love letter to TikTok and its contribution to the mobilzation of Zs, as this election fast approaches. Numbers don’t lie: as of July, there were 100 million monthly active U.S. users on TikTok, an 800% rise since January 2018. On a similar upward trajectory is the macaroni in a pot of all bangers – of course, we’re talking about WAP, the collab of the year from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. With a combined 3.7M TikTok videos created in honour of ~making it drop~ to the undisputed bop – including 113M views for Willy Wonka (if you’re not on Wonka Tok...wyd?!) – it’s no surprise the song made history as the first all-female rap collaboration to debut at No.1

Now, the song has taken on another life, soundtracking calls to increase voter registration. How, you might ask? With a WAP chain, powered by TikTok Voters, which, quite frankly, couldn't be more Gen Z if it tried. The campaign, which invites prominent TikTok power users, primarily young women of color, to use their platforms to engage followers eligible to vote (many of whom will be first time voters), is the latest initiative from Rock The Vote. As of September 3rd, the campaign has spent $12,500 and registered more than 1,175 people. High Tea has no choice but to stan.  

“Rock the Vote has revolutionized the way we use pop culture, music, art, and technology to engage young people in politics and build our collective power.” - RTV, 2020

As is the nature of a viral TikTok trend, its lifecycle is determined and, in turn, perpetuated by the life breathed (or in this case – danced) into it by the creators who center its narrative throughout their content. It’s no surprise, then, that a WAP remix produced by the account @votesounds features clipped audio from Cardi B, stating: “I don't wanna make everything political, but we have to vote. ARE YOU GONNA VOTE?!”. The remix has been used by prominent accounts partnered with TikTok Voters, such as @iconiccpinkk (3M followers) @xaviermartinnn_ (2.4M followers), @quen.blackwell (3.4M followers). Because when the meme is the message, you need a soundtrack to the polls that...just makes sense ✨. 

And the fun doesn’t stop there; a number of organizations are simultaneously targeting Zs with campaigns that traverse the zoomer topography. NextGen America have been targeting micro-influencers with around 1,000 followers, who are typically nonpolitical but have built audiences who trust in them and their content and, as a result, yield results with excellent engagement levels. Similarly, Feel Good Voting harnesses ‘the power of social media influencers’, creating content that targets and inspires the 18-30 demo, partnering with micro influencers around the 10,000 follower mark. The latest addition to the race to get Zs registered and motivated to vote comes from up to us, looking to “inspire, activate and educate”, ahead of the election. Even before the public launch, their content + creator strategy has already gained a pretty sizeable endorsement from the ever elusive 👁👄👁 gang. Nevertheless, they’re $55k away from their fundraising goal...so, you know what to do. Donate here

“Makeup bloggers, Greek life on campus, doggie Instagrams, drag queens and everyone in between have been really receptive to us sliding into their dm's to save democracy” – Heather Greven, communications director at NextGen America

ICYMI IMVU 

As the largest avatar network, featuring a catalog of 40M goods made by over 50,000 creators and a 75% increase in young consumers since the pandemic, IMVU is a social platform you can’t afford to sleep on. This week, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of U.S. women’s suffrage and to galvanize its 200M registered users to vote, the team at IMVU created a Vote 2020 digital clothing collection with the goal to “to contribute to an increase in voter participation”. Players can access armbands, slogan t-shirts and overhead signs to wear in-game, of which the proceeds will be donated to the NAACP. For a network that has largely profited off of black culture, their support for #BLM and now the 2020 Election has made the platform a strong favorite with Zs, plus with feature support from their newest Live Rooms release (allowing thousands to come together in one space), we think we might have more political plays to come. 🐸☕️

swipe right (but vote left)

Dating apps solely for finding FWB...oh she passed away? Alright. According to Statista, dating app usage during the panny-d has increased by 31% as we all struggle to cope with being cooped up inside, but for NextGen America organizers, this is their mo. The group, whose main focus is to register voters under the age of 35, has already been doing the rounds on dating platforms with overwhelmingly positive results. Not only are they aiming to increase voter registration, but are also using these platforms to answer questions on how and where to vote in the current climate. That’s what we call essential workers right there. 

animal crossing posts up

In 2020, it’s all about meeting Zs where they are. For Mike Bloomberg it was memes (remember that?), for Joe Biden it’s Animal Crossing. With the pandemic throwing a spanner in the IRL campaign works, this week the Biden-Harris crew launched their very own yard signs for players to use in-game – and it seems like digital assets might only be just the beginning. The team behind the campaign told Verge to expect “more digital swag, voter education tools, and organizing efforts on Animal Crossing and other platforms.” With politics now entering the virtual worlds we’ve grown to love during the pandemic, we can’t help but feel this is a step in the right direction for the Democrats, especially as we’re still reeling from Hilary’s ‘Pokemon-Go-to-the-polls’ in 2016 move *shudders*.


kettles on: ones to watch

🍔put your money where your mouth is. If you are what you eat, then get excited for three new monumental collaborations announced this week. Let’s dive in. At #3 we have a somewhat late-to-the-game offering from Toaster Strudel of a limited edition collaboration with Mean Girls. Yes, you read that correctly. Now you can enjoy a cream cheese and strawberry bite, stamped with none other than Gretchen Weiner’s own famous seal of approval – so fetch. At #2 we have another unlikely collaboration from our favorite virtual performer Travis Scott, and...Ronald. Yes, McDonald’s and Travis announced their campaign this week, and rumor has it Travis will get his own speciality menu and branded apparel. Is there not one pip of pop culture this man will not finesse? In at #1, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, Charli’s not-so-secret Dunkin’ drink (cold-brew coffee with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl) was finally released for public consumption...and boy, did they consume. The hashtag #charlirunsondunkin already has 81.7M views on TikTok, which, tbh, isn’t surprising for the most famous teen on the planet.

🎶we’ll be drinking the red gatorade. Nope, this ain’t another influencer x brand collab, but the latest single from Audrey Mika, aka the next Gen Z superstar in training. Following on from her Y U Gotta B Like That collab with KYLE and TikTok banger Yellow Hearts (with Ant Saunders, ofc 💛), we’re lowkey gassed to see what future bops await from this 19-year-old talent. With just shy of 500k followers on IG, you’ll want to be part of the ‘followed before 1M gang’. Trust us when we say: this gal is one to watch. If that wasn’t enough new music for the week, 6ix9ine (our favorite troll, ofc) dropped his sophomore album ‘TattleTales’ on Friday. We couldn’t have put it more perfectly than Variety: “If outrage could be magnified, commodified and made into hard currency — and then accessorized with sloppy rainbow dreadlocks — that billion-dollar bankroll would be Tekashi 6ix9ine, the rapper-troll whose main goal in life is rubbing others’ noses in his mess.”. Big mad! 🌈


Okay, you made it. Now you can all get back to getting your pals to vote. 🗳️

ttyl,

Alice & Faye