Oprah premiered will.i.am's "It's A New Day" song Friday. The song is the Black Eyed Peas frontman's reaction to Barack Obama's Tuesday night win as the 44th president of the United States.
Obama's win was a milestone as he became the first African-American president.
Oprah, an early Obama supporter, who was captured on the news in tears election night, clearly was selective when planning her post-election coverage. Yet, she welcomed will.i.am on her show to help the nation celebrate.
It's great that Oprah featured a hip-hop artist in this capacity to share this triumphant message. The hip-hop community had been convinced that she didn't like them.
Ice Cube was vocal when Oprah invited cast members from his film the Barbershop on her show, but excluded him. Ludacris has complained that when he was on her show along with co-stars from the Oscar winning Crash that the media mogul only asked him questions about his misogynistic lyrics. And others were upset last year when she held a two-day special, examining the negative impact of hip-hop lyrics following Don Imus' "nappy headed hoes" comments.
It's great that Oprah has provided this platform to show another side of hip-hop, and this song from will.i.am is a perfect example.
Having this song come from such a popular mainstream hip-hop artist sends a powerful message to those who only see hip-hop for its emphasis on materialism, violence and misogyny.
But what's even cooler is that so many of the biggest names in hip-hop had been supporting Obama along the way.
While the "It's A New Day" video features Kanye West, Fergie, Kerry Washington and others singing the chorus, it is not will.i.am's first effort in support of the former Illinois senator. He has made two other star-studded tributes, "Yes We Can," and "We Are The Ones."
Additionally, Sean "Diddy" Combs, who heads Bad Boy Entertainment and clothier Sean Jean, used his influence, frequently releasing video blogs encouraging his fans to exercise their right to vote. Jay-Z, Beyonce and Mary J. Blige participated in rallies. Artists like John Legend performed at the Democratic National Convention.
Public Enemy's Chuck D has to be proud.
Mainstream hip-hop artists have not stepped up to champion a positive cause like since Public Enemy's heyday more than 15 years ago.
Hopefully, the impact that resulted in one of the highest voter turn outs for youth will encourage more artists to continue to find motivation to incorporate meaningful messages in their music.
- Barack Obama