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Beyonce, Jay-Z and Obama through the years
Beyoncé and Jay-Z were among the honored guests at Monday’s inauguration event for President Barack Obama’s second term, with the R&B diva performing the national anthem to conclude the public ceremony.
But it’s by no means the first time the hip-hop power couple, who own a home and got their marriage license in Scarsdale, have been in the president’s corner.
Support dates back to March 2008, when Jay-Z endorsed Obama, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination at the time. The next month, while stumping in North Carolina, Obama reportedly said he’d “brushed the dirt off [his] shoulder,” referencing the similarly titled Jay-Z track, en route to landing the party ticket.
That year, Beyoncé even canceled an Election Day gig in Japan to ensure she’d be home to see the results. A day after Obama defeated Sen. John McCain to win the 2008 election, Beyoncé sang her praises for the president-elect, saying she’d “never been so patriotic.”
On the night of Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Beyoncé performed Etta James’ “At Last” at the Neighborhood Ball, where Barack and Michelle Obama shared their first public dance as president and first lady.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been friendly with the first couple ever since, but not without controversy. In August 2011, the president hosted Jay-Z, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley and other famous friends at the White House. A Fox News article dubbed the event a “Hip-Hop BBQ,” triggering an online firestorm among Obama’s supporters and critics.
Undaunted, Beyoncé and Jay-Z took an even more active role in Obama’s re-election efforts against former Gov. Mitt Romney, especially in the final months of the campaign.
In September, the couple not only attended a glitzy Obama fundraiser but also hosted the affair at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan. At the black-tie event that raised an estimated $4 million for the campaign, Beyoncé said she believed in the president’s vision, and Obama commended her for being a role model to his daughters. The president even cracked a joke at his host’s expense: “Jay knows what my life is like,” he quipped. “We both have daughters, and our wives are more popular than we are.”
In October, Beyoncé dropped out of a Clint Eastwood-directed remake of “A Star is Born." Although her reps cited scheduling conflicts as the reason for her departure, they announced the decision mere weeks after Eastwood made his infamous Republican National Convention speech, in which he chided an empty chair representing Obama.
In November, Jay-Z performed at one of Obama’s final campaign stops in Ohio, where he modified the lyrics to one of his biggest hits, “99 Problems,” to jibe with the political vibe. “If you’re having world problems, I feel bad for you, son,” he rapped. “I got 99 problems, but a Mitt ain’t one.”
Days later, Beyoncé and Jay-Z would remain “Crazy in Love” with the electoral results as voters elected Obama to a second term.