Last night Barack Obama presented Stevie Wonder with America’s highest award for pop music at a ceremony at the White House - Library of Congress’ Gershwin prize. President and First Lady hosted a concert to honor Stevie Wonder, a man whose music they said brought them together. “Love was in the air at the White House”, said the pool reporters there.
Here are some edited notes from the pool report:
“Michelle opened the event, and explained that she grew up listening to Stevie Wonder’s music with her grandfather. Years later, she said she “discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love. Barack and I chose the song, ‘You and I’ as our wedding song.” A chorus of “awws” from the crowd.
Obama, when presenting the award, called Stevie Wonder’s music “the soundtrack of my youth,” saying he found in it “peace and inspiration, especially in difficult times.” He then mirrored his wife’s comments, saying: “I think it’s fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship.”
The award was presented, and after a long ovation, Wonder spoke. “President and Mrs. Obama, I’m so excited to know that I was a part of” – he said, pausing for some laughter from the audience. “I needn’t say more.” Obama, standing to Wonder’s left, sported a broad smile, and then looked down to his wife in the front row.
Wonder thanked his friends and family, and said he accepted the award for his mother. If she were here, Wonder said, “She’d say, ‘Let me give him a peach cobbler.’” Wonder then spoke of his excitement over the president who honored him tonight, saying that through him “America has a chance to again live up to the greatness that it deserves to be seen and known as.”
He closed by saying that he looked forward to the president being able to unite the world, “so that in my lifetime I can write some more songs about love, about unity, and real songs of passion.” And then he added: “You know, maybe I’ll be a part of creating some more of those babies.” The audience roared with laughter and applause.
The pool of journalists exited shortly after, but as they were leaving they could hear Wonder saying that he had thought about inviting Obama to sing “Michelle My Belle” with him. Sadly, he did not. Instead, Wonder struck up “Signed Sealed Delivered,” a staple of the campaign trail.”