Four days before the general election in the swing state of Ohio, Hillary Clinton brought out some big names—possibly the biggest names that exist—to make her case for her. On Friday night, during a rally of 10,000 people at Cleveland State University, Beyoncé and Jay Z threw their support behind Clinton, with Beyoncé—who was clad in a pantsuit—saying she's "with her" and Jay strongly condemning Donald Trump as "divisive."
It was Beyoncé, naturally, who made the most inspiring speech of the evening. "There was a time when a woman's opinion did not matter if you were black, if you were white, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, educated, poor or rich. If you were a woman, it did not matter. Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote," she said.
Beyoncé at Hillary Clinton’s rally: “I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman leading our country" pic.twitter.com/lyXojvWfgf
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 5, 2016
"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. "I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and know that her possibilities are limitless." Fitting with her speech, she performed many of her songs about female empowerment, including "Independent Woman," "Formation," "Run the World (Girls)," and "Diva."
Jay said that Trump is "not an evolved soul, so he cannot be my president. He cannot be our president.… Once you divide us, you weaken us."
Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, and Big Sean were all on hand to promote Clinton as well, adding a level of youth credibility that Jay Z at least probably isn't able to deliver. There was a bit of awkwardness as Clinton tried to talk about Jay's music, describing it as "addressing… some of our biggest challenges in the country: poverty, racism, the urgent need for criminal justice reform," all of which is true but isn't necessarily how, say, you or I would describe Jay Z's music.
Anyway. Conservatives, who hate Beyoncé for talking about the rights of black people and women, I guess, have latched onto the concert as evidence of Clinton's…dishonesty? Performed comfortability around black people? Whatever they're criticizing (it's pretty unclear), it seems pretty bad. Trump, who brags about "grabbing women by the pussy" with his buddy Billy Bush, said (complained?) that he couldn't "even use the initials" of a word Jay Z said (the, uh, n-word) during his performance; the Media "Research" Center criticized Beyoncé's, uh, pants; Trump campaign Pravda Breitbart News went after Clinton for being "hoarse."
Concertgoers were enthusiastic about the performances but were more ambivalent about Clinton; the New York Times reported that "dozens" of people left after the music ended and the rally began, and at least one attendee interviewed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer said they were a Trump supporter.
The show is seemingly part of Clinton's outreach to young black voters, who largely supported her rival Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. She also recently made her second appearance on the New York hip-hop morning show The Breakfast Club, during which she discussed how Death Row Records apparently influenced her fashion. (During the first appearance, in April, she claimed to carry hot sauce in her bag, á la Beyoncé, and then asked "Is it working?" when Charlamagne tha God said she would be accused of pandering to black people with the line.)
You can watch the whole rally and concert here:
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.