01.21.09 President Barack Obama Assures Americans 'Yes, We Will' At Neighborhood Ball - Mariah Carey, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Will.I.Am, Beyoncé and others gather to celebrate Obama presidency...


One of President Barack Obama's promises on the campaign trail was to offer an administration that was transparent. Well, he got off to a good start Tuesday night (January 20).

The Neighborhood Ball inauguration celebration was the first ball to be open to the public and not restricted to political dignitaries.

The two-hour event was broadcast live on ABC and featured a slew of celebrities, including Beyoncé, who performed 'At Last' for the president and his wife's ceremonious first dance.

Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams, Ray Romano, Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington participated in the festivities as well. Washington introduced the country's newest first couple to the roaring audience.

"It's a privilege for me," the actor said. "Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States and the first lady, Michelle Obama."

The Obamas entered to thunderous applause. "I want to thank all of you, not merely for helping me get elected, but I want to thank each and every one of you and all the people who are watching tonight for what you do to make this country better," the president said.

Obama then went on to call for his supporters to continue their commitment tomorrow, this year and over the next four years. "Because together, we're going to change America," he finished. "Thank you, guys."

Throughout the ball, performers tailored their songs to match Obama's campaign messages. Mariah Carey took to the stage after being introduced by the house DJ, her husband Nick Cannon.

"This is for everyone out there with dreams," Carey said, before singing her ballad "Hero." "And, of course, I have to dedicate [the song] to our president."

The night's entertainment - from Carey to Alicia Keys to Will.I.Am to Maroon 5's Adam Levine - all joined together with Stevie Wonder for an all-star rendition of Wonder's 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered'.

The president later spoke with ABC's Robin Roberts during the ball and explained his and Chief Justice John Roberts flub during the swearing-in earlier in the day. The two seemed to be out of sync during their exchange. But Obama, ever the optimist, said they helped each other out.

"I think we were up there, we had a lot of stuff on our minds," he said, smiling. "He actually helped me out on a couple stanzas. Overall, I think it went relatively smoothly."

Wonder returned to the stage with Sting to close out the show with the latter's 'Brand New Day'. Afterward, Obama again spoke to the crowd from the stage. The 44th president told the audience the event was the first of 10 he and the first lady were to attend.

Before he exited, Obama once again evoked his messages of change and hope. "Yes, we will," he said, leaving to chants of Obama.

© 2008 MTV Networks by By Jayson Rodriguez
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