The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States marks the exciting and hope-filled beginning of the next chapter in American history—and some of the biggest legends and stars in music are going to be in the nation’s Capital to “Rock with Barack” all night!
On the evening of January 20, 2009, the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington will host D.C.’s largest celebration of the evening, with 4,000-6,000 guests expected to attend; marking the first-ever two-ball inauguration event in history, with the most diverse roster of talent.
The host for the American Music Inaugural Ball and special events (see below) surrounding the inaugural, will be legendary, multiple Grammy Award winning singer Dionne Warwick, who is also the chair and host of its “Legends Ball” that will begin in the hotel’s Marriott Ballroom at 8:00 p.m.
The “Urban Ball”, which begins simultaneously in the Thurgood Marshall Ballroom, will be chaired and hosted by three-time Grammy Award winning rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
The two events will be affordable “People’s Balls” compared to other major events in D.C. held that evening. AMIB, which will launch online ticket sales this Friday, December 5, promises to offer “the most bang for your buck” per ticket based on the high caliber lineup of talent set to perform. Tickets can be purchased through the official website connected with the American Music Inaugural Ball at www.AmericanMusicInauguralBalls.com. It is the sole authorized outlet for online ticket sales for this event (there is an unauthorized and unofficial site by a similar name – ticket buyers will need to add the “s” in “Balls” to get to the Official site to purchase tickets).
Says Warwick: “It is an honor and privilege for me to host AMIB and its events over what will undoubtedly be two of the most exciting days in American history.” She continues, “On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, we celebrate with pride and joy the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Through the language of music comes unity, which is the hope he symbolizes for all of us. Music is the universal language that brings people of all colors, of all faiths, of all ethnicities from all over the globe together in unity.”
She adds: “Barack’s campaign proved it can be done in America and worldwide. So why not a ball that represents this, or rather two balls that collectively show how American Music can unify us? Let’s ‘rock with Barack’ in the Nation’s Capital!”
“I was extremely honored to learn that President-Elect Obama was a fan of mine,” says Ludacris. “I am certainly a big fan of his. That’s why it is such a great privilege to chair the ‘Urban Ball’. We have done our part to elect a great leader; now we are coming together to celebrate his accomplishment and to ring in the new era and share the hope he has inspired in us. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of a history. Look at what happens when people come together and focus on our possibilities rather than our differences.”
Co-hosted by gospel star Yolanda Adams the “Legends Ball” will feature performances by Rodney Atkins, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Marvin Sapp, The Temptations (Dennis Edwards), Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Kirk Franklin, the H.B. Barnum Orchestra, The Caravans and Smokie Norful. The dress code is formal: tuxedos, ball gowns and “all of your finery.”
The “Urban Ball”, co-hosted by Big Boi of Outkast, will feature performances by T-Pain, David Banner, Athena Cage, Cedric The Entertainer, The Cheetah Girls, Fantasia, Lil Jon, Monica, Bella Steez and Bobby Valentino. The dress code is: “Dress to Impress!” Casual attire not permitted.
AMIB presenters for the evening include such celebs and sports figures as: Isaiah Washington, former NBA stars Jalen Rose, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Reggie Miller, Tracey and Alonzo Mourning and current Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor who recently appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Other special events will include an invitation-only Black Tie Dinner honoring American Heroes on Monday, January 19. On January 20, there will be a Continental Breakfast from 7:00 a.m. -9:30 a.m., a widescreen television viewing of President Elect Obama’s Swearing In Ceremony from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST, a brunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and widescreen television viewing of the Inaugural Parade. Both the Legends Ball and the Urban Ball have receptions scheduled in their respective foyers at 6:00 p.m.