Hillary Clinton can count Beyoncé and Jay Z among her supporters. The megawatt power couple headlined a free get-out-the-vote concert in Cleveland on Friday night.
J. Cole, Chance The Rapper, and Big Sean also performed, offering their support to the Democratic nominee for president.
As the night’s official headliner, Jay kicked off the show with “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” “F—WithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” and a string of his older hits. Appropriately, he expanded the group of performers by bringing out Big Sean for “Clique.”
After Sean, Chance, and Cole had heir say, Beyoncé made her entrance with her anthemic “Formation.” But before “Freedom” rang out, she shared some thoughts about the election.
“There was a time when a woman’s opinion did not matter. If you were black, white, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, educated, poor, or rich, if you were a woman, it didn’t matter,” Beyoncé said. “Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Look how far we’ve come from having no voice to being on the brink of making history again, by electing the first woman president. But we have to vote. The world looks to us as a progressive country that leads change.”
She continued: “Eight years ago, I was so inspired to know that my nephew, a young black child, could grow up knowing his dreams could be realized by witnessing a black president. And now, we have the opportunity to create more change. I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and know that her possibilities are limitless.
“We have to think about the future of our daughters, our sons, and vote for someone who cares for them as much as we do,” she continued, concluding: “And that is why I’m with her.”
After playing “Flawless,” a snippet of “Independent Woman,” and “Run the World (Girls)” — with her backup dancers sporting blue pantsuits and custom “I’m With Her” shirts — she stepped into Justin Timberlake’s role on the hook for “Holy Grail” to bring Jay Z back on stage. They bowed, hugged, and kissed, and then Jay Z made his endorsement.
“I want to grow up in a world where our daughter has no limitations. She can feel like she can be whatever she wants to be in the world,” he said. “This other guy [Donald Trump], I don’t have any ill will towards him, but his conversation is divisive, and that’s not an evolved soul to me. He cannot be my president. He cannot be our president. Once you divide us, you weaken us. We’re stronger together.”
Jay Z then welcomed Clinton on stage and, along with Beyoncé, gave the 69-year-old politician a big hug. Then, the former Secretary of State grabbed the mic.
“We have a woman who is an inspiration to so many others. I thank Beyoncé for standing up and showing the world we are strongest when we look out for each other,” Clinton said. “And I thank Jay for addressing in his music some of our biggest challenges in the country: poverty, racism, the urgent end for criminal justice reform.”
Clinton went on to quote a line from a Jay Z cut, “My President (Remix)”: “Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk. Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run. Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly.”
Cole, Chance, and Big Sean performed short sets, and none of Friday’s performers mentioned Republican nominee Donald Trump by name; Big Sean recognized him in a negative way by playing “I Don’t F— With You” and asking the audience members to raise their middle fingers, and Chance almost said Trump’s name but stopped himself short.
“[Clinton] is killing this race, but she needs all of our help as America’s citizens to go out on Nov. 8 and cast our vote in opposition — you’re right, we don’t even need to say his name, as a matter of fact,” the Chicago MC said.
See highlights from the concert below.