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Archive for the ‘The Inauguration’ Category

With Kanye, Fall Out Boy, Kid Rock, Usher, Rosario Dawson, and Eric Benet in the building (to name just a few), there was some major star power at the Youth Inaugural Ball that I attended last week.  However no one’s star shone anywhere near as bright as the President and First Lady’s when they graced the stage. 

Get into the Obamas swaying to the tunes of “At Last” by Etta James and skip to the 1:46 mark to experience what was, hands down, the best moment of the evening.

Too. Damn. Fly.

–TJ

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You couldn’t make it to the Inauguration? Don’t worry, I’ll keep delivering it right to your computer screen.  (If you show me some love in the comments section, that is).  Check back tomorrow to get your daily inaugural fix.  It’ll be like you were in the VIP section with Oprah and Stedman.

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So if you’re like me, you were probably less than satisfied with the poem recited by Inaugural Poet Elizabeth Alexander at the end of President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony.  I kept thinking to myself, “Where’s Angelou, where’s Giovanni, where’s Morrison? Hell, where’s Def Poetry Jam?” 

But after reading the full text of the poem earlier today, I realized that it wasn’t the poem that I didn’t like, it was Alexander’s delivery.  The poem itself, is very good. 

My favorite line is “What if the mightiest word is love?”  Whew! That’s the type of language that jumps off the page and slaps you awake after having been lulled to sleep by Alexander’s monotonous delivery.

Watch the video above, then read the text of the poem below, and see if you feel the same way.

–TJ

Praise Song for the Day

By Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need
. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

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January 20, 2009

 

Dear Babies,

I don’t know your names, and we are yet to meet, but I just want you to know this one thing-your daddy was there.  I was there at the exact moment that the world changed forever. 

By the time you read this, it may be hard for you to imagine me as anything but your “old man,” but as I write to you I am a 22-year-old recent college graduate who lives in New York City, and is currently in Washington , D.C.  I may be young right now, but I’ve already seen a lot in my lifetime.  I have witnessed the horror of the World Trade Center attacks, the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and the dawn of a new millennium.  I remember the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and what the internet was like before YouTube and Facebook .  In my personal life I’ve experienced many triumphs and joys, and have also had my share of failures and sadness.  But I never expected to see what I saw on Tuesday, January 20, 2009-the day that the world changed forever.

You see, that was the day that President-elect Barack Obama became President Barack Obama.  That was the day that he and his beautiful wife Michelle and their lovely daughters Sasha and Malia walked onto that platform on the United States Capitol to accept their victory, the world’s victory.  On this day at 12 noon, the world stood still in amazement, and then erupted in cheers of hope and elation. 

Growing up in my small hometown of Quitman, Texas, people would always say, “Travers, you’re going to be President one day.”  Now, don’t get your hopes up, because I have no desire to hold that position. But it wasn’t until today, the day that the world changed forever, that I truly believed-without any doubts, without any reservations-that I could.

So as I reflect on this exciting day, the image that is the most vivid to me is not that of President Obama with his hand on the Bible, or even the new First Lady standing by his side.   I am thinking of those two beautiful little black girls proudly looking at their father.

And I am visualizing that one day that could be you.

With love, your daddy,

Travers

22 years old

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The Suite Life

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Washington, D.C.   January 18, 2009

So I didn’t get the presidential suite, but I must say, BET spared no expense for my lodging.  At one time, The Fairfax Embassy Row was a high-end apartment building, and was also the childhood residence of Al Gore.  Located in the heart of Embassy Row (look it up on wikipedia) the Fairfax is now the hotel of choice for politicians, diplomats, and bloggers (lol).  When I checked-in, I found myself inside a gorgeous room with a view of the Indonesian Embassy.  Each day, the guests are given a complimentary gift (Sunday it was champagne and homemade cookies, Monday it was a white chocolate White House mold with berries inside).  Check out the pictures below and click here for a video tour of my hotel room.

–TJ

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Washington, D.C.   January 17, 2009

So I made it to D.C. for the Inauguration on Saturday, January 17.  I was taking Amtrak so my train arrived in Union Station around 6 p.m.  By the time I got there I was hungry as HELL, and there’s nothing more filling than some good ole “chinese” food.  So I stopped by the fried rice joint at the food court (you know EVERY food court has one), and I stood in line to order my trusty bourbon chicken and fried rice.  “Bourbon chicken and fried rice, please,” I said when I got to the counter.

“We no have bourbon chicken,” the lady behind the counter said.  “We have ‘Obama Chicken!'”

“Um, okay.  Just give me the steak and brocolli then.”

“You no want to try ‘Obama Chicken’? It’s yummy, yummy, yummy,” she said.

“No, I’ll just take the brocolli and steak.”

“Come on, what you have to lose. Try “Obama Chicken’…it’s yummy, yummy, yummy!”

So I tried it…and it tasted like bourbon chicken.  And from the picture above, you can tell that it looked like bourbon chicken too.

But what the hell.  I guess if Barack Obama can be elected president, a fried rice joint in Union Station can name their chicken after him.

And I must admit…it was yummy, yummy, yummy.

–TJ

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As some of you may know, I also blog for the BET YOU(th) VOTE initiative, and after 7 months of covering the 2008 election and the presidential transition, thanks to viewers’ votes, I recently won the Inauguration Reporter Contest.  So this morning, I’m headed to Washington D.C. (along with 2 million other people) to cover what will be the most momentous presidential inauguration our country has ever seen.  Check back over the next few days and I’ll keep you updated on what all I get into in The District.  Now I gotta finish packing…I HATE packing. Lol.  Thanks again for everyone who voted for me!

Have a blessed day,

–TJ

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