Black women raise their political voice via Instagram

Whether altered by a vintage filter or posted as they are, images of black women showing their support for President Barack Obama have begun to flood the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. Both black celebs and everyday women are instantly sharing their opinions on the candidate and capturing unforgettable election moments with the quick touch of a screen.

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“We voted!!! Me and [Ryan Press]… and our baby got to witness it!!,” wrote singer Brandy under her Instagram username, 4everbrandy, posting a photo of her submitting her early ballot.

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, supermodel Chanel Iman, TV personality La La Vasquez, and the rapper Rasheeda all followed Brandy’s lead by taking pictures while voting and participating in campaign events. The captions and hash tags accompanying the pictures from their streams encourage readers to vote on Election Day. This is not surprising, as women’s rights and healthcare issues have taken center stage in this election cycle.

Hot-button issues like funding for Planned Parenthood, abortion, and equal job opportunities have been spotlighted in the presidential debates. As these issues disproportionately affect black women, the documented political activity of this demographic on social media is a positive sign they will be engaged as voters today.

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“There’s definitely urgency in this election, but I think the urgency is different from 2008,” First Lady Michelle Obama told News One last month. “In the first election, there was urgency, pride and being a part of history with electing the first Black president and having a Black family in the White House and having a first lady that women could identify with.”

Now that this milestone has been reached, African-American women are showing their urge to press on to tackle more complex problems. And this starts with voting. For black women this is seen by some grass roots leaders as especially important.

“In 2008, Black women voted in record numbers representing over 68% of the Black electorate; in part, contributing to the election of President Obama,” Higher Heights for America, an advocacy group for black women, stated in a release. “Black women are a critical voting bloc and must continue to demonstrate our growing political power in this election.”

As people of all races and genders flood the polls, Instagram users should expect a flurry of photographs featuring poll queues, “I voted” stickers, filled out ballots, and more to fill their timelines today. As the voting clock winds down, we bet that black female Instagram users will not have shown any signs of stopping, both voting and sharing the experience via social media.

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Are you ready to cast your ballot and take your political engagement to the next level? If you do, don’t forget to share your experiences with like-minded others online. As these photos show, apps like Instagram can help groups like black women who are often unseen as an important voting bloc voice their presence and encourage their participation.

“If we each do our part,” Higher Heights for America believes, “then we will ensure that our elected leaders understand the real power of the black female electorate.”

Share your Election Day photos with theGrio team on Instagram at @TheGrio.

Follow Patrice Peck on Twitter at @SpeakPatrice and Tumblr.