We have five trailblazers who are making history at Joe Biden’s Inauguration
The inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be historic for a multitude of reasons. Not only will Kamala Harris become the first female vice president, and the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, but she is also the first African American and first Asian American vice president. Her husband, Doug Ermoff, will serve as the nation’s first gentleman, a role which has never been fulfilled before. The event itself will be held in an unconventional manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to sweep the United States. Crowds are heavily discouraged and even D.C.’s historic National Mall has been closed because of security concerns related to the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.
Despite these setbacks, the Biden-Harris team has put a focus on unity and positivity for the ceremonies. They have also been making an effort to use the most of the virtual boundaries that were set around them. Keke Palmer will host an Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans the first-ever curated livestream for young Americans before and during the inaugural ceremonies.
Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite surrogate Dad Tom Hanks stars in a 90-minute prime-time special dubbed Celebrating America. Airing on a number of networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC as well as streaming services like Hulu, YouTube TV and Sling. This will serve as the inauguration concert. If you want to get a feel of what to expect from the concert the Biden-Harris administration made a playlist for the inauguration. The playlist was created in partnership between the PIC, DJ D-Nice and Raedio, the record label launched by Insecure star and creator Issa Rae. Featuring artists like SZA, who fangirled over her appearance on the playlist, and Bruce Springsteen it gives us the idea that better days are definitely ahead.
Not every artist included on the playlist will be taking part in the inaugural concert. The short but specific setlist uses its performers to make various statements about our country. Here are the five trailblazers who will be lending their musical skills to the inauguration.
Lady Gaga is no stranger to the campaign trail, especially this year. She assisted President-Elect Biden during his tour of Pennsylvania in the final days of the election. As a former resident of Lancaster, she used her hometown roots to get in touch with many voters in the state. Pennsylvania eventually ended up giving its twenty electoral votes to Biden making him the winner of the 2020 election.
Biden and Gaga have been friends for many years. This unlikely alliance began in 2016 where the duo worked together to promote awareness for sexual assault on college campuses. She was an avid supporter of Biden’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign which saw 250,000 students from more than 530 colleges sign a pledge of solidarity and activism. She has been a staunch colleague of the Delaware native ever since to the point where he selected her to perform the National Anthem for the Inauguration. The Rain on Me singer has some large shoes to fill in this role, which had previously been held by stars like Beyonce, Santita Jackson, and Marion Anderson, but this is familiar territory for Gaga, who has sung the anthem for the Super Bowl.
On Instagram, Lady Gaga has been building hype for her performance with various posts. Most touching though, was one she took at the nation’s capitol where she advocated that tomorrow be a day of peace and unity. She was seen taking photos with members of the National Guard in a majestic white cape and matching mask.
Touching down in D.C. Jennifer Lopez wasted no time getting to work on her performance. Although the details of exactly what she will sing are vague this is a huge moment for Lopez who, similar to Lady Gaga, also headlined the Super Bowl last year with Shakira. Even though she has spent her entire career breaking through various barriers Lopez’s fiancée former pro baseball player Alex Rodriguez revealed she was very nervous for the event. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Rodriguez said that the On the Floor singer felt an extreme need to be responsible. He also imparted that she hopes that the concert will inspire people and also help bring them together during these tough times. There were hints that Jennifer had a few tricks up her sleeve for her set and we should all be prepared to be surprised. She follows in the footsteps of other women of color like Marian Anderson, Mary J. Blige, and Aretha Franklin.
While in Washington D.C. Jennifer Lopez took the opportunity to thank the members of the National Guard who were sent to protect the capitol. 25,000 troops are currently stationed in D.C. and a few fans managed to seek Lopez out. Taking a selfie with the guard members, she honored them for their service and told followers she was singing for all Americans.
Ant Clemons & Justin Timberlake
Not many have heard of Ant Clemons, but all of that will change when he performs his hit song Better Days featuring Justin Timberlake. The twenty nine year old has seen a meteoric rise in his stardom since 2016 where he worked at a Red Lobster in Los Angeles. You might recognize his name behind some of your favorite songs since he had a hand in Camila Cabello’s My Oh My, MOOD 4 EVA for Beyoncé, Everything We Need and Water from Kanye West’s Jesus is King. Better Days sees Ant step out on his own as a force in the music industry. The song which was co written with Timberlake describes longing for a brighter future and not giving up during hard times. On Twitter, Timberlake wrote a heartfelt tribute to the song and the process of creating it.
Garth Brooks has been a staple of Presidential Inaugurations since President Jimmy Carter took office in 1977. He was personally asked by First Lady Jill Biden to take part in the ceremony. Although she joked that he would be the only Republican there, Brooks happily accepted the offer to promote unity between parties.
The country superstar has been a longtime advocate for progressive policies like LGBTQ+ equality. One of his most popular songs, We Shall Be Free, features the line, “When we’re free to love anyone we choose.” Many have interpreted this as a rallying cry for marriage equality which Brooks confirmed when he won a 1993 GLAAD Media Award for the song. Several LGBTQ+ fans of the singer took to Twitter to express how much the song and the support impacted their lives.
If you thought Bill Clinton was the only president who could reunite a broken up band then think again. In 1997, the infamously argumentative band had seemingly separated for good until the call to perform at the inauguration came. The two remaining members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie sought out Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, eventually convincing them to take part in the reunion for one song. However, Lindsey Buckingham wouldn’t budge to the point where Nicks had to threaten to cut off contact forever in order to get him to agree. It all turned out to be worth it as the band’s rendition of “Don’t Stop” turned out to be the highpoint of the evening.
Fast Forward to 2021 and another band has agreed to forego separation for the greater good. Enter the New Radicals, most famous for their 1998 smash hit You Get What You Give. Although the band itself was short lived, the track has managed to seer itself into the public consciousness for its upbeat lyrics and unforgettable melody. The song entered public conversation again in 2020 when it was handpicked as the walk on song for Doug Ermoff. However, most touching is that it was a rallying song for the Biden family when Joseph Biden’s son Beau Biden was battling cancer. Even when Beau lost his fight the family still held the song close to their hearts. In a statement, frontman Gregg Alexander expanded on his reasoning for reuniting the band for one night only.
“If there’s one thing on Earth that would possibly make us get the band together, if only for a day, it is the hope that our song could be even the tiniest beacon of light in such a dark time.”