By Sarah Maslin Nir
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Abraham Lincoln was staring at me.
OK, it was just his statue. But as I stood in the back recesses of the stage during the rehearsals for the "We Are One" inaugural celebration Saturday while on assignment for Rolling Stone, sandwiched between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, I was sure that if I took a step any direction, someone — a guard, a policeman, even Abe himself — would sound the alarm bells and send me packing. In front of me, dozens of gospel singers were humming and oohing the chorus of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising." Over the sea of their shoulders I could see the Boss himself, standing at the edge of the stage facing them, teaching them his lyrics.
My objective was to get as close as an average person (i.e. one without official clearance) could possibly get to the rehearsals. As I wandered closer and closer to the stage, I realized no one was stopping me. Offstage, James Taylor and John Legend were strumming, Shakira, Will.I.Am and Stevie Wonder were loosely jamming, but I was drawn to the memorial's steps by the swelling choir sounds and Bruce's husky voice.
Hesitantly, I put a toe on the first step to the stage. I was immediately spotted. Read More...
By Erica Anderson
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On my walk from Dupont Circle to the National Mall on Sunday morning, there was a calm over D.C. that I had not expected. Thousands and thousands are expected for the "We Are One" inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, featuring performances by Bruce Springsteen, U2, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Usher and many more. Where was everyone?
Motorcades of police are poised on the street corners. A few feet further along, members of the National Guard are, too.
Finally, I find the crowds.
Outside the gates, people are hustling Obama commemorative T-shirts. I'm on the lookout for the cheesiest item. No winner yet. Read More...
It felt so good to wake up this morning and put on T-shirt that read "The Good NEW Days." It's a sentiment that myself and it seems like the rest of the world felt since election day. Barack Obama had arrived.
Almost as soon as he was announced the winner, a heavy weight was lifted off of so many people's shoulders. Millions collectively felt "it is going to be ok now."
Arriving in DC this morning, you could feel that you were about to embark on something great. It is freezing cold outside, the traffic is horrendous, but the energy is so positive. The local barber shops, the clothing stores, the hotels, everyone is buzzing about Obama. All day text messages and emails have been flooding my inbox about his train tour. The people are so proud.
Have you always wanted to pen a presidential speech? Do you think the White House transition team lost your résumé?
If you're still angling for the job, we found a way for you to catch the eye of the president's team: Atom.com has a fun little feature called the "Inauguration Speech Generator."
"A grassroots Internet campaign helped Barack Obama get elected," the site says. "Now he's calling for the Internet's assistance one more time — to help him craft the best inauguration speech ever."
So, I decided to put the generator to the test, filled in the Mad Libs-like boxes with important-sounding words like "hope" and "patriots," and voilà! Here's what it would sound like if I got the chance to write Obama's history-making address:
"My fellow Americans, today is a prestigious day. You have shown the world that 'hope' is not just another word for 'country,' and that 'change' is not only something we can believe in again, but something we can actually honor. Read More...
By Rachel Josue
It was a very exciting 2008 here in the MTV Newsroom. It was a year of triumph and tragedy, a year of secret weddings and pregnancies, a year of overcoming adversity and a year of inspiration and change.
2008 brought us everything from the shocking death of Heath Ledger and the tragedy that befell Jennifer Hudson and her family, to the reinvention of Britney Spears and the successes of "The Dark Knight" and Tha Carter III. Your favorite artists and celebrities eloped (is it legal yet, Speidi?), married overseas (nice tats, Mariah and Nick) and got hitched in secret (thanks for finally admitting to that, Jay and B). They had babies and — in true Hollywood style — named them strange things (I am available to babysit when Bronx befriends Brooklyn and they have a play-date in Manhattan. Just saying.). And, Chinese Democracy actually materialized, to the delight of Dr. Pepper fans.
It seems like everyone wants to get in on President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in January. Can we add Shakira to the growing list of celebrities offering their services for January 20 in Washington D.C.? (MTV is in on it too: We'll be hosting our own event, the Be the Change Inaugural Ball.)
First off, Beyoncé was quite vocal about her dream to perform for Obama. Then Obama's camp had to deny the rumor that his fellow Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson was onboard to perform at the show.
Now, according to Latina.com, the Peruvian paper El Comercio reports that the Colombian pop star may make an appearance at Obama's inauguration. Shakira is a stout Obama supporter. "Obama can restore peace and the world's confidence in the United States," she said in a statement back in October. And Obama responded by saying, "It's an honor for me to receive support from someone with so much talent, from an artist who has been so generous."
Linda Douglas, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, wouldn't confirm or deny the reports to Latina, saying only that announcements of official performers are "way down the road."
But news organizations keep on guessing. FoxNews.com, for instance, speculates that early supporters like Oprah Winfrey, Will.I.Am and Bruce Springsteen will be on hand to ring in Obama's presidency.
We might as well get in on the game: Who do you think should show up on January 20?
Yes, first-daughters-to-be Malia and Sasha Obama are about to move into the most famous 132-room, 35-bathroom house in the world, complete with a bowling alley, movie theater, jogging track, swimming pool and putting green. Big deal. The commander in chief of stage daddies, Billy Ray Cyrus, dropped a hint recently that the girls have been asked to appear on "Hannah Montana" sometime in the spring (around the same time the "Hannah Montana" movie hits theaters). Given what big-time Miley fans the girls are said to be, we imagine they wouldn't mind being part of such a blatant publicity stunt.
Read about Miley Cyrus' sage advice for Sasha and Malia here.
By Liz Nord
New Year's Eve had nothing on last night's celebration in Times Square. When Barack Obama was announced as president-elect, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world roared with a collective cheer — and the party didn't stop all night long.
A group of us from the Newsroom stepped out from behind our computers and cameras to join the crowd as the final results were called — a momentary break from a long night of reporting. Illuminated by the enormous electronic billboards and LCD screens displaying the news, cheering people filled Broadway as far as the eye could see. Strangers were embracing, kids were break dancing, and New Yorkers were actually friendly.
You gotta get up really early to make history. Or, in the case of 28-year-old Tom Krieglstein, stay up late. Hours before anyone else thought to line up for tonight's rally in Grant Park for Senator Barack Obama, the Wrigleyville, Chicago, native proudly took his place as the first person in the queue at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, a full 24 hours before the doors open for the event.
"It's history," he said, explaining why he showed up so early. "Having Obama as president is history, and that's why I wanted to be the first person in line." For two and a half hours, Krieglstein was the line, since his fiancée got sick and bailed on him. Then, around 10:00 p.m., a second person showed up. The #3 slot didn't get filled until early Tuesday morning. Read More...
Good morning from Mesa, Arizona, where the air is clean, the streets are cleaner and every building looks like it was built in 1997.
We spent the early a.m. hanging out at a local polling station — the leasing center of the Mesa Royale, an "active adult community"— and met first-time voter Jessica Woods, a 21-year-old senior at Arizona State University and self-confessed "social conservative," who plans on running for state senate when she turns 35.
Woods said that she still has hope, even though many polls show Obama in the lead — "The polls show one thing, but Bush was down [before] he came out on top" — and also admitted that, despite being a pastor's daughter, she does plan on partying tonight should Mac pull it off. Read More...