New York, Jan 20 (IANS) Hollywood A-listers missing from Donald Trump’s entry to the White House four years ago are all in for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The who’s who of live entertainment has descended on Fortress Washington, taking forward a tradition that began in the 1940s and repurposing it for global audiences online in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic’s winter surge in the US.
Lady Gaga will be singing the national anthem on Wednesday on the West Front of the Capitol, where exactly a fortnight ago a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the building in a stunning bid overturn the election results. Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks will also headline the musical elements of a historic afternoon.
The evening features Tom Hanks hosting a special 90 minute prime time program “Celebrating America,” which takes the place of the official inaugural balls and mixes in stories of ordinary Americans going about their lives during a pandemic. After opening remarks from Biden and Harris, the spotlight shifts to Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, and Kerry Washington.
It won’t be all music, though.
Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, celebrity chef Jose Andres – also a close friend of Kamala Harris – and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in Major League Baseball history.
The backdrop for the celebrations will be like no other in the country’s inauguration history. Washington DC looks like an armed encampment, more than 25,000 troops are on the ready, tanks and prefabricated concrete blocks provide extra security, and wire mesh fencing and barbed wire is everywhere.