Jay-Z & Friends
Written by Reid Smith on November 6, 2016
JAY-Z performs a free show in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign
Scribed by: Jenna Langan
Editors Note: This election is important, so if you can, please go out and vote!
On November 4th, the people of Cleveland gathered outside the Wolstein Center in hopes of seeing JAY-Z and his so called, “special guests.” As part of the “Get Out the Vote” concert campaign series in support of Hillary Clinton, this concert was free to anyone who simply signed up and got a ticket in person. The whole event was kind of like receiving some big and mysterious present from JAY-Z. No one knew who would turn out and perform, but since JAY-Z was already on the bill, this was enough reason to go.
The venue started shuffling everyone in around 5 PM, but the show wasn’t set to start until 8 PM. For those three hours, feelings of curiosity and excitement flooded the crowd. A DJ kept the crowd bumpin’ and dancing to today’s hits until Jay-Z was ready. And by 8 PM, boy, was he ready.
JAY-Z kicked off the night when he bounced onto stage and hyped the crowd with his classic hit, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” Between songs he urged people to get out and vote through his words and the graphics displayed. JAY-Z then yelled the words “STRONGER TOGETHER” and all of a sudden, Big Sean was on stage beside him.
From performing his hits “Bounce Back” and “One Man Can Change the World,” Big Sean kept the crowd excited and inspired all at the same time. He explained that back in 2008, he was just another kid at JAY-Z’s free campaign show for Barack Obama. And on this day, here he was performing with him.
Soon enough, I spied a baseball cap with a “3” on it, and realized Chance the Rapper was in the building. He hopped to the stage to perform a few of his songs off his hit 2016 album, Coloring Book. This was quite possibly my favorite surprise. Chance spent the morning of this performance in Chicago with the Cubs in their championship parade, so his appearance in Cleveland was quite a shock. As he says, “when the praises go up, the blessings come down” and this performance by Chance was a blessing indeed.
And just when you think it can’t get any better, J. Cole, takes to the stage. At this point, I had to pinch myself. I certainly thought I was in some kind of dream(ville). Performing top tracks like “No Role Modelz” and “Wet Dreamz” he had everyone awestruck. The moment J. Cole locked his platinum (no feature) eyes, pointed and smiled at me, I knew this night was the peak of my life.
JAY-Z took to the stage again, but this time you could feel the fierceness in the air. You could feel that Beyonce was going to be present. The feelings proved right. There in all of her pantsuit and glory was Beyonce on stage rocking the crowd with “Formation.” Following with songs like “Diva,” “Run the World,” and even a Destiny’s Child throwback “Independent Women, Pt. I.”Beyonce’s song choice went riding along with the theme of female empowerment. Jay and Bey joined forces and performed lines from the song “Holy Grail” and introduced Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Clinton provided many thanks to the performers and urged Clevelanders to get to the polls by this Tuesday. Perhaps the highlight of her appearance was when she quoted JAY-Z lyrics, “Rosa parks sat so Martin Luther could walk, Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run, Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly.” JAY-Z followed up the night with a final performance of “Hard Knock Life.” At this point, I am still not convinced the night was real, and this election for that matter.
Make sure you get out and vote by November 8th!