During the Obama administration, a number of high-profile artists such as Common, John Legend, and The Roots received (and accepted) invitations to the White House for various events. Now, under Obama’s former Vice President, Joe Biden, that tradition has apparently resumed. John Legend made his return to the White House, along with fellow Grammy fave Jon Batiste and other celebrities like Stephen Colbert, for the first-ever state dinner undertaken by Joe Biden as President of the United States.
A CNN report on the dinner posits it as an opportunity for Biden to “shore up relations with a key American ally” in French President Emmanuel Macron. Apparently, a recent deal with Australia angered French officials, who have taken a leadership role in many issues in Europe, including the Russia-Ukraine war. The heads of state (and their first ladies) exchanged gifts such as fancy dinnerware (appropriate), a record of the soundtrack of the film Joe and Jill Biden watched together on their first date, sweaters, books, and a watch.
Interestingly enough, as the White House staff are in the process of decorating for the holidays, a temporary marquee was set up to host the dinner, prompting the organizers to use rental settings rather than the traditional china of presidents past.
John Legend, meanwhile, has been busy lately, releasing a Spanish version of his song “Nervous” with Sebastián Yatra, dropping his album, Legend, and appearing on Metro Boomin’s new album, Heroes & Villains. Batiste, who performed at the event, is due to make his acting debut in a remake of The Color Purple.