Dave Chappelle, De La Soul & More Celebrate the Obamas With a “Block Party” at the White House (Video)
Earlier this year, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party celebrated its tenth anniversary, a milestone which allowed fans to reflect back on the film and its place in Hip-Hop history. A similar history was just made on Saturday Night Live, where the most recent episode sported Chappelle as host and A Tribe Called Quest as musical guest. Chappelle’s appearance on the show seemed particularly timely given the recent election, one which was embroiled with the kind of racially charged rhetoric embodied by Clayton Bixby, one of Chappelle’s Show‘s most infamous characters. Arguably the most important comedian of a generation, Chappelle’s return to the spotlight could not have come at a better time, and his opening monologue on SNL included an anecdote about his time spent with another generational icon: President Barack Obama.
Specifically, Chappelle recounted his attendance for a party thrown in the Obamas’s honor at the White House, one hosted by BET and which celebrated the legacy of the First Couple with musical performances. He was talking about Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, a Block Party-style event featuring appearances from The Roots, Common, De La Soul, Jill Scott, and many others. President Obama called the event his very own Block Party, a comment he made while shouting out Chappelle, who was in attendance as a guest in the crowd. Airing tomorrow (November 15) at 9pm EST, the two-hour program includes an address from President Obama in which he calls the event an opportunity to “celebrate the music which has shaped America.” While Hip-Hop plays a major role in forming the night’s perspective, he also acknowledges the importance of Blues, Broadway, Latin, and other genres represented in previous “musical evenings” he and his wife have hosted over the years.
Of this particular installment, the President says “while much of the music that you will hear this evening – Gospel, R&B, Rap – is rooted in the African-American experience, it’s not just Black music. This is an essential part of the American experience.” Tomorrow’s telecast will be the final event of its kind, as the Obamas get ready to leave office, an announcement met with audible sadness from his audience. “It’s gon’ be aiight,” he tells the crowd. His address is lighthearted and sprinkled with humor, including quips about the Twist being the Twerk of a previous generation. After calling her “amazing” and “lovely,” President Obama introduces the evening’s first performer, Jill Scott, who opens her set with “Run Run Run.”
In preparation for the telecast, BET has also released a video featuring the farewells to the Obamas from De La Soul, Common, Angela Bassett, and others. Common says to the First Family “we love, we adore you. You all mean so much to us…you have shown us, truly, what we can be as a Black family at the highest level.” Dave of De La Soul says “it’s bittersweet to say farewell, and we love you,” while Maseo chimes in with “if you want a third term, remember…three is the magic number.”