After a discordant opening, the 2016 Democratic National Convention eased into solidarity behind Hillary Clinton on July 26.
The convention’s second evening at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center saw Clinton formally nominated as the Democratic Presidential nominee, alongside powerful performances from Alicia Keys and Andra Day, and speeches from Bill Clinton, Meryl Streep, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Banks, Lena Dunham and others.
Day delivered a rousing performance of her signature 2015 song “Rise Up,” in front of a powerful drumline. The soulful singer is no stranger to big stages — she performed at this year’s Grammys, after all — but the setting at the DNC was especially emotional. The “Rise Up” rendition came just after the mothers of slain African-Americans like Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland pledged their allegiance to Hillary Clinton. Watch her performance below:
As the night’s headlining speaker, Bill Clinton took his time, stood and delivered; his near-hour-long speech recapped his entire life with the Presidential nominee. He started with meeting her at Yale Law School in the early 1970s, dating her, and needing a third try at proposing marriage before she finally accepted. “Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens,” he remembered, doing a strong job of humanizing the nominee while highlighting her humanitarian side. The earnest lecture (which also included high praise for Michelle Obama’s time in the White House) brought listeners right up to the present, including Hillary’s role through his own two terms and the life of their daughter Chelsea.
Just after Bill’s speech wrapped, the DNC unveiled a star-studded cover of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” It was produced by Bruce Cohen, Mike Thompkins and Banks, inspired by her work in the Pitch Perfect films. Watch it below:
After a poignant speech from Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys took the stage. In an ode to Clinton, she performed her 2007 song “Superwoman.” After wrapping, she shouted out Bernie Sanders, then Hillary and pleaded, “We can’t let politics divide us.” Up next, she performed her spicy 2016 song “In Common,” while quoting Dr. Martin Luther King within it. Finally, Hillary Clinton closed things out, saluting the Philly crowd from New York via a live video feed.
Banks worked as a sort of emcee throughout the evening, introducing speakers and breaking up the routine with funny anecdotes. Dunham and actress America Ferrera managed to find the lighter side, while pointing to last week’s Republican National Convention. “Hi, I’m Lena Dunham and according to Donald Trump, my body is probably, like, a 2,” opened the Girls creator/star. Ferrera stressed the U.S. was founded on the belief that race, religion and sexual orientation “should not dissolve what binds us.” Together, they echoed the notion that women’ rights are fundamental human rights.
Aside from womens’ equal rights and reproductive health, other platform issues stressed Tuesday included Clinton’s advocacy for 9/11 victims and opposition to human trafficking and police brutality.
Yesterday, the Democratic National Convention opened with numerous newsworthy moments: Sarah Silverman laying into the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, Paul Simon performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Demi Lovato performing “Confident,” along with a speech for mental health advocacy. For more, check out Billboard’s day one DNC wrap-up.
The DNC runs through Thursday, July 28.