The music and hip hop world will get a chance to show love for President Obama next week when Jay-z and Beyonce host a multi-million-dollar fundraiser for the commander-in-chief at Jay’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan.
The dinner will be limited to just 100 guests, who each will pay $40,000 for the honor of dining with Obama and what promises to be a star-studded list of music industry bigwigs. Obama has had big fundraisers with Hollywood stars over the last few months—George Clooney hosted one at his house in Los Angeles in May and Sarah Jessica Parker hosted another at her place in Manhattan in June. In addition, Tyler Perry did it big at his studios and his home in March for Obama.
But this will be the first chance for the R&B, hip hop and rap communities to rally around the president and lay out some big bucks—in this case, $4 million—for his re-election cause. Since Republicans like Sarah Palin tried to create controversy over a rapper as tame as Common being invited to the White House last year—Fox News even called him a “vile rapper”—it will be interesting to see whether Republicans try to cause a scene over the Beyonce and Jay-Z guest list at the 40/40 Club. And even more interestingly, one wonders if Jay-Z might decline sending out an invitation to his more controversial rapper friends to protect Obama from conservative criticism.
We have reported on many occasions about the mutual love affair between the First Family of Music and the First Family of the United States. During a radio interview last month with KOB-FM in New Mexico, Obama picked out Beyonce’s upbeat smash “Crazy in Love” as a particular favorite of his.
“If I’m really trying to get my heart rate up, ‘Crazy in Love’ is a pretty good song to work out to,” he said, when asked what was his favorite song to work out to.
“I’ve got a lot of old school R&B: you know, Steve Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye,” the president said. “But I’ve always got a bunch of contemporary stuff: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Nas. You name it, I’ve got it.”
Beyonce and Jay-Z have long had an almost psychic connection to the president and First Lady Michelle Obama. During the 2008 campaign, Obama famously used Jay-Z’s song, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” to indicate that his opponent’s attacks couldn’t touch him. After he was elected, Beyonce memorably sang “At Last” to the First Couple at an inauguration ball while they slow danced and gazed into each other’s eyes. And of course Michelle Obama and Beyonce have had the mutual admiration society going in full force over the last year. Michelle said that if she could switch places with any celebrity, it would be Beyonce. And Beyonce penned a letter to Michelle, telling her how much of an inspiration she is to girls around the world.
A week ago, Obama appeared in a clip at the start of Jay-Z’s set at the Made In America festival in Philadelphia, urging the crowd to vote and saying he is a fan of the rapper’s music.
Beyonce has also been involved with the Obama campaign, appearing in an online campaign ad during which she reads a letter she posted on her blog sharing her appreciation of Michelle Obama. The singer, flanked by her own mother and Jay-Z’s mother, also attended a March fundraiser hosted by Michelle Obama.
The 40/40 fundraiser is scheduled for the evening of Sept. 18.