Celebs Reflect on Obama

Inauguration Voices
ESSENCE.COM Jan, 07, 2009

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“The first three words of the Constitution are “We the people,” and for the first time in our history I feel like that is true."

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“Wow! The Obama presidency will be transformative in ways that people haven’t imagined yet. As I travel this country, young men tell me that they want to be a rapper or a ballplayer, and I gaurantee you that within six months, after seeing him day after day, they will tell you they want to be Barack Obama.”

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“This inauguration is one of those moments where you feel you can be a part of history. We can stand with our fellow Americans and all have the same pride and the same humility and the same sense of possibility. This makes me feel a part of America in a way that I haven’t in my entire life. Right now, I feel so proud to be an American.”

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“It means I can travel the country now and be proud, because here is a man with clarity, who has purpose, who has vision and who happens, just happens, to be a brother.”

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“I’m gonna try to miss my flight [out of D.C] on purpose," quips Hamilton, who was in town for his performance at The BET Honors on Saturday. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find accommodations through Tuesday. Though he wouldn’t be around for the rest of the inauguration festivities, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native adds, “I’ll be a few miles away [for inauguration] but I’ll be cheering.”

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“The Obama presidency means unity—of women, of family. Let’s not forget the familial structure that’s moving into the White House. A structure that we know. It also means all things are possible!”

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“It was important for me to be here because of change, because of Barack Obama. I wasn’t able to be here for Martin Luther King, Jr., or the Million Man March. I just have to touch the soil. It’s emotional for me. It’s just something that I have to see with my own two eyes and be able to tell my future kids.”

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“I think Michelle Obama is definitely leading the race as an independent woman. Did you see her speak [at the Democratic National Convention]? She had folks feeling like she could run for president if she felt like it. She’s the epitome of an independent woman.”

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“There’s so many parties to go to this weekend, but Barack Obama’s inauguration is really about validation, an opportunity to get it right this time, and ushering this amazing family into the White House.”

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“It means a dream come true, a dream fulfilled. It means peace and hope for everybody in the world."

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“Besides being historic, his inauguration is personal. It proves me right in a prediction that I made many years ago that we would see a Black president in my lifetime. I always believed it would happen.”

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“This inauguration is a vindication. That’s the word I’ve been using since Election Day. I think for those of us who decided we would work within the system to do what we can for our children and grandchildren and for those of us who fought off the headwinds that were time and time again erected, Barack Obama in the White House vindicates the faith that we kept in this country.”

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“My father fought in World War II and came back to New Orleans and couldn’t vote. I have him here this weekend. Barack’s inauguration is an exhibition of Black courage. It’s about a man acting in the face of fear against the appearance of insurmountable odds to become the highest ranking legislator in the land. Barack exemplifies what we’ve always known in our community about us.”

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“This win made me realize that White people aren’t the enemy. I used to look at them and wonder how they treated Black people. Now I wonder if they voted for Barack.”

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Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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“I’m convinced that on [Barack’s] magic night of November 4, 2008, babies were conceived all over the world, and many will be named Barack too.”

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“Listening to President-elect Obama’s acceptance speech, I was excited and encouraged by his call for a new spirit of service and responsibility. I believe this election offers us a wonderful opportunity to re-examine and renew our relationships, both to one another as human beings, and to our country as active citizens in this government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’”

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“I feel excited and jubilant about the swearing in of our President-elect, Barack Obama. I also have a deep sense of gratitude for Martin Luther King, Jr., and all those who paved the way for this transformative moment.”

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“Not only did Barack run an excellent campaign, he ran an honest campaign. And even when a lot of us wanted him to get dirty, he continued to take the high road. I think we all can learn a lesson from that.”

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20 of 29

“Obama can do something to help toward the bailout program, to help financial institutions, but we still have the bulk of the responsibility.”

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21 of 29

“Barack Obama’s victory makes me feel that a lot of our hopes are vindicated, that we were not just crazy dreamers.”

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“It’s so hard to talk about him without sounding emotional and clichéd, but I’ll tell you I admire his intelligence, his persistence, his eloquence, how he appears so intellectually rigorous and curious.”

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“Standing on the shoulders of all who struggled before him, he’s driven his fist through a ceiling of flesh, bone, cotton and sugarcane.”

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“It’s one giant leap for humanity. Our president-elect asks us to believe on our own ability to bring about change. The power is in the masses.”

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“An aspect of my father’s dream has been fulfilled. He and many others gave their lives so we would have the right to vote. The real job now belongs to President Obama and his team. And all of us as Americans must participate to help President Obama become one of the greatest presidents in our country, and I do believe he’ll be one of the greatest we’ve ever had.”

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“Obama in many ways is the first obvious representation of what will be more and more the standard of the next generation. So I’m in this wonderfully special place that, when I look behind me, I see heroes who made incredible sacrifices and evidenced a level of courage that inspires me every day. And I’m also at a point where I look at where I am now and I see Barack Obama standing on the shoulders of all those giants.”

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“He’s an inspiration and represents a shift of the world on the surface, but on the inside he’s the most progressive voice we’ve had run for president. We need that. I wanted to see this happen, and I’m glad to be a part of it. This gives me purpose.”

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“Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.”

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“President Obama sends a strong message to Black America and especially to our children that they must never give out, never give in, never give up.”

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