The political season might be over, but excitement is building as the January 20 inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United Stares nears. And with his inauguration comes those legendary balls.
For the first time, under the banner of the American Music Inaugural Ball (AMIB), two balls — Legends Ball and Urban Ball — will run simultaneously, hosted by legendary singer Dionne Warwick and rapper/actor Ludacris, respectively, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
Billed as the “People’s Balls,” compared to other major pricey events held that evening in DC, the two balls are affordable events featuring legendary and contemporary artists in R&B, country, pop, soul, gospel, Latin, hip-hop and rap. Between 4,000 and 6,000 guests are expected to attend, making these the largest celebrations of the evening.
Tickets for the balls go on sale today, December 5, and can be purchased at the ball’s official Web site, which is the only authorized outlet for online ticket sales for this event. There is an unauthorized and unofficial site by a similar name.
Legends Ball tickets are $450; Urban Ball, $350. For both balls, a limited number of $650 tickets are available.
“It is an honor and privilege for me to host AMIB and its events over what will undoubtedly be two of the most exciting days in American history,” said Warwick in a statement. “On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, we celebrate with pride and joy the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Through the language of music comes unity, which is the hope he symbolizes for all of us. Music is the universal language that brings people of all colors, of all faiths, of all ethnicities from all over the globe together in unity, so why not two balls that collectively show how American Music can unify us?”
Ludacris added: “I was extremely honored to learn that President-Elect Obama was a fan of mine. I am certainly a big fan of his. That’s why it is such a great privilege to chair the ‘Urban Ball.’ We have done our part to elect a great leader; now we are coming together to celebrate his accomplishment and to ring in the new era and share the hope he has inspired in us. Look at what happens when people come together and focus on our possibilities rather than our differences.”
The Legends Ball is being co-hosted by gospel star Yolanda Adams and will feature performances by Rodney Atkins, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Marvin Sapp, The Temptations (Dennis Edwards), Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Kirk Franklin, the H.B. Barnum Orchestra, The Caravans and Smokie Norful. The dress code is formal: “tuxedos, ball gowns and all of your finery.”
The Urban Ball, co-hosted by Big Boi of Outkast, will feature performances by T-Pain, David Banner, Athena Cage, Cedric the Entertainer, the Cheetah Girls, Fantasia, Lil Jon, Monica, Bella Steez and Bobby Valentino. While the dress code is not formal, attendees are urged, “Dress to Impress! Casual attire not permitted.”
AMIB presenters for the evening include such sports figures as: Isaiah Washington, former NBA stars Jalen Rose, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Reggie Miller, Tracey and Alonzo Mourning and current Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor who recently appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”