Gala Glam: Best Moments of Inaugural Balls

Party Politics Obama Presidential Gala Fashions
ESSENCE.COM Jan, 20, 2009

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Our newly elected President kicked of the night with an appearance at the first-ever Neighborhood Ball, attended by everyday Americans. The gala was the first of ten balls the Obamas attended on Inauguration Night.

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Queen Latifah shared hosting duties with such stars as Denzel Washington, Vanessa L. Williams, Kerry Washington, Nick Cannon and more at the Neighborhood Ball.

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All eyes are on the Obamas as they take their first dance while Beyoncé sings the Etta James classic “At Last.”

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Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige wowed the crowd with a stirring performance at the Neighborhood Ball.

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Hip-hop artist will.i.am rocked the house in a slick white suit at the Neighborhood Ball.

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Mariah Carey delivered an emotional performance of her hit “Hero” in a curve-hugging black dress at the Neighborhood Ball.

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7 of 17 Getty Image/AP

“This ball is the one that captures best the spirit of this campaign,” says President Obama on the significance of the first-ever Neighborhood Ball that linked Americans across the country interactively and via a live broadcast on ABC.

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“First of all, how good-looking is my wife?” said President Barack Obama at the historic inaugural gala.

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9 of 17 Getty Image/AP

“This man was born to lead us. At last he is here. He makes me want to be more involved,” says Beyoncé, after an emotional performance of “At Last,” the Etta James classic, for the first dance of President Obama and the nation’s First Lady.

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10 of 17 Getty Image/AP

It was a fashionable affair at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, where Mrs. Obama wore an original design my Jason Wu.

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11 of 17 Getty Image/AP

Designer Jason Wu, 26, played close attention to detail when designing the First Lady’s long, flowing one-shoulder gown. The ruched bodice and full skirt accentuated her tall frame, while the sparkling beads added a touch of romance to the creation that will be donated to the Smithsonian museum.

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Wyclef Jean performs at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C., which is one of ten official balls the Obamas attended.

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13 of 17 Getty Image/AP

President Obama wore a notch-collar tuxedo with traditional white bow tie. He accented the look with an American flag pinned to his lapel for stately elegance.

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Going for understated sophistication, Mrs. Obama accessorized her white off-the-shoulder Jason Wu gown with an antic medallion jeweled ring, long cascading diamond earrings, and diamond bangles on her wrist.

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“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and there are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met,” said the President.

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A beaming Alicia Keys performs her winning hit “No One” at the Neighborhood Ball.

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17 of 17 Getty Image/AP

Vice-President Joe Biden and Mrs. Biden take their turn on the dance floor at the Neighborhood Ball. “I can’t dance, but I sure like holding her,” joked the Vice-President.

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