President Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address Tuesday night (Jan. 12), but before he declared the U.S. “the most powerful nation on Earth, period,” he was preceded by another Washington D.C. act, Wale.
The performance was Wale’s third visit to the White House, having last joined First Lady Michelle Obama in July of 2015 to help college-bound teens. Last night’s performance marked a significant achievement though, as he became the first rapper to ever open a State of the Union Address. Who ever thought that hip-hop would take it this far?
Wale performed his 2009 debut single “Chillin’” and the 2013 hit “LoveHate Thing” before the address, what was marked by President Obama’s confidence and adamance as he begins his final year in office. In addition to the performance, Wale was photographed with Vice President Joe Biden, and took a selfie with Biden’s wife Jill.
The rapper’s opening performance comes the same week that Kendrick Lamar shared details from his visit to the Oval Office, having spoken with President Obama about the problems facing inner city communities and the solutions needed. In 2011, much fuss was made over Common’s invitation to the White House for a celebration of American Poetry. It seems if nothing else, President Obama has made it acceptable to like rap music and be friendly with the folks who make it.
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