Atlanta Celebs React to President Obama's Victory Via AJC.com
Beyonce, singer, actress
"I'm there. I can't wait. I feel like all of us, we're ready to do whatever we have to do. Whatever they want — if they need me to volunteer, they need me to sing, I'm there, and I'm ready," a giddy Beyonce said in an interview the day after Barack Obama made history in becoming the nation's first elected black president.
The singer couldn't stop beaming after Obama's win over Republican John McCain on Tuesday. In fact, she was so inspired, she wore a blue suit and tie in honor of Obama — with stiletto heels that were red, white and blue.
"I've never been so patriotic!" she laughed. "I'm just beyond excited."
Beyonce was supposed to be in Japan on Election Night to promote her upcoming album, "I Am ... Sasha Fierce," but decided to postpone it at the last minute.
"I said, 'What am I doing? I'm completely making a bad decision. I have to go home, I'm gonna kill myself if I'm not home in America,'" she said. "I knew I needed to be here."
T.I., who was in Los Angeles shooting a movie, “had the pleasure and the honor of being at Will Smith’s house on election night. If I couldn’t be at home with my kids to experience this perfect moment, that was a nice substitute… Will introduced me to a guy who was from Mozambique, who he met when he was doing ‘Ali’. Since then, that guy had moved to America and just became an official citizen. So the first time he was able to vote, it was for a black man running for president of the United States. I thought that was an outstanding story.
“I’ll tell you one more: This morning I called my kids and my eight-year-old said ‘Did you know only two people voted for McCain in Tennessee?’ I said, ‘That’s not true son. I think McCain actually won Tennessee. But I appreciate your attentiveness to this very important matter’. I thank everyone who made it their business and an extreme priority to get out there and fulfill their civic duty. And I appreciate being able to encourage and inspire people to do so.”
Evander Holyfield, heavyweight boxing champion
“It took me back to when I was in the second grade. I remember when the teacher said to us, ‘You know, everybody in this class room should have goals. You can be president if you want to be. Who wants to be president?’ Everybody in the room raised their hand except me. They teacher said, ‘Evander, how come you’re not raising your hand?’ and I said, ‘Because I don’t know what the president does.’ Then she told me and eventually raised my hand, too. I didn’t become president but I did become heavyweight champion of the world four times. But I was thinking, everybody in that classroom was born in ‘62. Then I found out that Barack was born in ‘62. So obviously when he was in the second grade, he must have been in a classroom somewhere raising his hand.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Obama actually was born Aug. 4, 1961)
Usher, R&B singer
Atlanta’s five-time Grammy winner was in the nation’s capitol election night for his concert tour. “When I got off stage last night, and they told me he won, I just began to thank God for this reality, and opportunity. Now what we do with it as Americans, that’s the real difference, the real change I am so looking forward to.”
Usher joined Obama at numerous campaign rallies and his New Look Foundation also launched an “I Can’t But You Can” student-led voter registration drive. “I’m very proud to be an American. Proud to be an African-American. I mean, we came to this country as slaves and were treated as such for so long â€” long after we were supposedly ‘freed.’ The segregation that plagued our country, a lot of us suffer from it to this day. But it still speaks volumes about this country, about Barack Obama, that this could happen. … It’s like the completion of a story. “And you know, someone said something really profound to me this morning: ‘Rosa Parks sat so Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could march so Barack Obama could run so we could fly!’"
Ludacris, rapper, actor
As his business partners were having an election party in his Midtown restaurant Straits, Atlanta rapper-actor Ludacris was in St. Louis on a promotional tour for his new CD. “The first thing I did when the election was called for Barack was call my mother, and I thanked her for the sacrifices she made for me to witness this day. There’s a whole new confidence, a whole new hope and just endless possibilities. Now I can tell my daughter she can be the president — and she can see that it’s so.”
Ciara, R&B singer
The 23-year-old spent election night going back and forth from inside an Atlanta rehearsal studio to the hallway to check the results. “Finally, when rehearsals were over I just sat in the lobby area where the TVs are and watched the speeches. Just took it all in.
“I’ve just been feeling this sense of pride, like for days now,” she said. “Not just because of the history of the first black president — but because I just believe he will be a great president. Black people didn’t just vote for him, all ethnicities did. And I think that’s because Barack Obama sees us all as one. All Americans.
“I didn’t cry last night when I was watching his speech, but when I was driving here to rehearsal today, they were playing it on the radio with [contemporary gospel singer] Marvin Sapp’s ‘Never Would Have Made It’ underneath, and I just started boo-hooing.”
Bow Wow, rapper-actor
Having led the recent, nonpartisan, Walk Across America voter registration campaign at colleges across the country, Bow Wow earned the right to kick up his feet and watch CNN in his condo all day. “Last night though, I was in the studio with Jermaine [Dupri], and I kept asking him what was going with the results, and he wouldn’t say. He was being real cautious. Like he might jinx Barack. I knew he had it though, and when I finally went outside and found out, I just started yelling like my fans do when they see me. I couldn’t believe it. Then I sat down, and I really almost ” almost ” got choked up. To be a young black man, and know that so many other young black men don’t have a lot of hope ” that’s hope right there! Right on our TV screens. It doesn’t get any bigger or better than that. I found myself saying, ‘a black man is president’ like 30 times. Over and over. Feels good saying it.”