Rihanna, Aretha, Sting Usher in Obama for Inauguration

12.17.08 9 years ago

Alex Wong/AP

We’re sure she’ll sing something totally appropriate, like “God Bless America,” but wouldn’t it be awesome if Aretha Franklin burst out into “Respect” when she sings at Presidential-elect Barack Obama’s swearing in as president of the United States on Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C.? Even better: if Franklin sang “Chain of Fools” and dedicated it to the outgoing administration.

The Washington Post has listed the official performers tapped to appear at the ever- so-tasteful Inauguration. Also on the bill are violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Gabriele Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill. John Williams will conduct the quartet (we’re quite sure they won’t break into the Williams-composed themes to “Jaws” or “Star Wars.”)

Revelers will have to wait until the myriad inaugural balls to bust a move. Rihanna will perform at the Recording Industry Assn. of America’s ball (the RIAA are the folks who certify CDs gold and platinum, and, until last week, were the ones suing folks for illegally downloading songs). Proceeds from the ball will go to Feeding America. The Hip-Hop Ball will be hosted by Russell Simmons, LL Cool J and T.I. Sting will perform at the Creative Coalition’s Ball, Il Divo at the Purple Ball (shouldn’t Prince be at that one?). The American Music Inaugural Ball comprises two balls: the Legends Ball, co-hosted by Yolanda Adams and featuring George Clinton, Chaka Khan, The Temptations and Kirk Franklin, among others; and the Urban Ball, hosted by Outkast’s Big Boi with performances by T-Pain, The Cheetah Girls, Lil Jon, and David Banner. Artists expected to attend-although not confirmed to perform– at other balls include Harry Belafonte at the Peace Ball and Kanye West, who has been asked to perform at D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Inaugural Ball.

Sources tell the Post that there will be at least 10 official inaugural balls and 45 unofficial balls. The lack of rockers appearing would be upsetting-especially given how much Obama courted the youth vote-but it’s still early days. For example, MTV has yet to announce who will play its ball, which we expect will feature a number of top names.

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