Singers Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez will offer their musical talent to the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden next week, according to the Presidential Inauguration Committee.
Lady Gaga, who will sing the national anthem, campaigned for Biden in the general election and has participated in activism for causes such as mental health, LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, and body image issues. When he was vice president, she worked with Biden on his “It’s On Us” campaign to address sexual assault at colleges.
Jennifer Lopez, who will be performing an unspecified musical number, joined with her partner Alex Rodriguez to speak out against the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Latino community.
Other participants in the ceremony include Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a friend of the Biden family and former president of Georgetown University, who will be providing the invocation. Leading the Pledge of Allegiance will be Andrea Hall, a 28-year career firefighter and president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 3920 in Fulton County, Georgia.
Andrea Gorman, who became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States by UrbanWord and the Library of Congress, will provide a poetry reading and the Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, who is pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware, will give the benediction.
“We are thrilled to announce an inspired group of dynamic participants for the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies. They represent one clear picture of the grand diversity of our great nation and will help honor and celebrate the time-honored traditions of the presidential inauguration as President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris take the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol,” inaugural committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement. “They are also committed to the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect’s steadfast vision of a new chapter in our American story in which we are an America united in overcoming the deep divisions and challenges facing our people, unifying the country, and restoring the soul of our nation.”
A Presidential Inaugural Committee official told CNN it is also planning a star-studded primetime special following the mostly virtual events, according to CNN. Hosted by Tom Hanks, the program will air on major networks 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and feature Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, and Ant Clemons.
Very few others will be participating in Biden’s inauguration, since much of Washington, D.C., has been locked down since the riot at the Capitol last week. The entire National Mall, where members of the public have traditionally gathered to watch the ceremony on large jumbotrons, will also be completely shut to the public. More troops have descended upon the nation’s capital in recent days to protect it than are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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