On Wednesday, November 5, 2008, shortly
after midnight, Senator Barack Obama addressed his nation for the first time as
its soon to be 44th President. For eighteen minutes, in front of a
crowd of approximately a quarter million people representing Americans from
every race, creed and age group, President-Elect Obama expressed gratitude,
abated fears, and spoke of the challenges ahead.
His speech came nearly one hour after
he was declared the clear winner of the 2008 Presidential Election, becoming
not only the first African-American president of the United States, but also
the first Democrat since the first Senator to be elected to the Oval Office
since John F. Kennedy and the first Democratic Candidate to the popular vote by
such a wide margin since Lyndon Johnson did it in 1964.
But even before the statistics were
released, the significance of this moment was clear to the Hip-Hop Generation,
the same group who, according to the pundits, was responsible for Obamas
victory. By the time the President Elect hit that stage in Chicagos Grant
Park, words of hope, feelings of encouragement and preparations for the work
ahead where transmitted via many of the same technological advances credited
for the success of the Obama campaign.
Below, we bring you the Obama victory
speech in its entirety, with some commentary from the Hip-Hop community.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where
all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is
alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in
numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four
hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this
time must be different, that their voices could be that difference. It’s the
answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black,
white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not
disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been
just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue
states.We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
I feel that now it is time to become
the American Dream. To be stronger as a people and to understand that my
parents and the struggles of our past leaders did not go in vain.
is my proudest day as an American. We have elected a leader that represents
change and unity. Barack Obama has carved his place in history as a true beacon
of Hope!” Nick Cannon
Obama stands for hope, he’s a great
representation for real people. He helps clear the smog and smoke that has been
preventing us from seeing the future. Now our children have a fair chance. Billy Danze
Its a blessing to conquer all obstacles and roadblocks in our
way, now its on us to support what we believe in to conquer that long
road/recession we are facing ahead of us. Trae Tha Truth
It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to
be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their
hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better
It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this
date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.
Theres a new
benchmark. I think a lot of the
psychological chains on Black people have been erased tonight. I think thats
one of the things that his presidency is gonna mean. Theres literally no limit
and we truly can achieve the zenith. Fonzworth Bentley
A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious
call from Senator McCain. Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign.
And he’s fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has
endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are
better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I
congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they’ve achieved. And
I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his
heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of
Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect
of the United States, Joe Biden.
And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of
my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my
life, the nation’s next first lady Michelle Obama.
“This is an
amazing, definitive victory. The melting pot of the United States–young and
old–has spoken. Change is here. We are all engaged again in democracy.
President-elect Obama has his work cut out for him, and at this amazing moment
in U.S and world history, the “VIBErant” citizens of America are
clearly ready work to turn our best hopes into reality.” Danyel Smith,
Editor in Chief of Vibe magazine
Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have
earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s
no longer with us, I know my grandmother’s watching, along with the family that
made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond
Tuesday night was really a thank you night. Its a
thank you to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, to Dr.
Benjamin E. Mays, to Rosa Parks, to Fannie Lou Hamer, to Dr. Joseph E. Lowery,
to Andrew Young, to Rev. C.T. Vivian, to my great-grandparents, and
grandparents and parents, to your forefathers and all of the unsung heroes who
were confident that this day was coming. My posture is really that of thanks. I
just cant wait to see Malia and Sasha running around on that lawn. Thats the
image that I want to see. Bentley
To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank
you so much for all the support that you’ve given me. I am grateful to them.
And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this
campaign, who built the best — the best political campaign, I think, in the
history of the United States of America. To my chief strategist David Axelrod
who’s been a partner with me every step of the way. To the best campaign team
ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am
forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It
belongs to you. It belongs to you. I was never the likeliest candidate for this
office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was
not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines
and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was
built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to
give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.
It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their
generation’s apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that
offered little pay and less sleep. It drew strength from the not-so-young
people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of
perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and
organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the
people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.
I feel like I am a part of history.
Just being a part of the process of voting. I forced my family, friends, and
colleagues. We have a responsibility to change our reality. We must continue
the movement. There are No excuses NOW. Finally, we have a Black President.
This is an example and testimony that any minority can aspire and attain anything
they want.” – Fat Joe
None of these presidents ever meant nothing to me. I
know it might sound crazy, but none of them meant nothing to me. No matter how
much they said they were gonna do, or they tried to do, or they actually did,
it meant nothing to me and my type of people. Busta Rhymes
This is your victory. And I know you didn’t do this just to win an
election. And I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand
the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we
know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime
— two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up
in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for
us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall
asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage or pay their doctors’ bills or
save enough for their child’s college education. There’s new energy to harness,
new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there
in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful
than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree
with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government
can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the
challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And,
above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only
way it’s been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick,
calloused hand by calloused hand.
forbid, if too much damage has been done if Barack cannot really make all the
improvements, if everything that were looking to get from this man we dont
get, the fact that hes willing to bear the weight and take on the
responsibility, that speaks in volumes to me. That speaks in volumes to our
people. Busta Rhymes
What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn
night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for
us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things
were. It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new
spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of
responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look
after not only ourselves but each other. Let us remember that, if this
financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall
Street while Main Street suffers. In this country, we rise or fall as one
nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same
partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so
Anytime you get
to witness something you were told would never happen, its life changing
because you see a piece of the barrier called impossibility knocked down. But
at the same time, now more than ever we gotta play our part and be held
accountable for our neighborhoods and generation. We cant sit back and yell
save us Barack! Playboi Tre
The change was not just him getting elected. Thats
where it begins. But its Barack Obamas job to provide the vision and
leadership. The work begins now. And I think for us, as a people, weve come
this far by faith, but I think now we really have to redirect our priorities,
which are education, putting our faith first, our pride, our dignity, taking
care of our families, taking care of our communities, learning to care for one
another again. Return to the teaching of our elders. Barack needs us, just as
much as we need him. We are all in this together. Fonzworth Bentley
Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the
banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the
values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are
values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great
victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal
the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far
more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have
strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans
whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I
hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments
and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of
the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn
of American leadership is at hand.
“I am ecstatic! I got the news
arriving in the UK, I’m so proud of the Americans for making that change
happen! Let’s go towards a great new future!” – Estelle
This was a
necessity to preserve America itself. With Obama as a spokesperson, this nation
will be able to accomplish its agenda. His legacy has changed the face of
America. Now the question is: will it change America? Immortal Technique.
we enjoyed this historic moment and victory for change, let’s work smarter and
harder to show the world the change within America. People are paying
attention. We have a “unique” platform to impact change. Let’s make
it happen and today as we continue to move in a greater direction.”
– Londell McMillan, Publisher of the Source Magazine
“Barack Obama is a movement. He has given a new
hope to people across the world that hasn’t really been seen since Dr.
King. I’m glad that I was able to witness and share this experience with
my family and especially my kids.” Shawty Lo
To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To
those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have
wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more
that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or
the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty,
opportunity and unyielding hope.
That’s the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can
be perfected. What we’ve already achieved gives us hope for what we can and
must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for
generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her
ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to
make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper
is 106 years old. She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when
there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her
couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the
color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in
America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times
we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American
creed: Yes we can. At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes
dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the
ballot. Yes we can. When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression
across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new
jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was
there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes
we can. She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a
bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We
Shall Overcome.” Yes we can. A man touched down on the moon, a wall came
down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and
cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times
and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much
more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to
see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann
Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
Im glad that Im alive to witness
something that has been whispered about since I was born. Its cool to see a
mixed nation embrace a black man thats proud to be a black man. And this is my
first time Im voting, the main reason [being] my last name! Damon Dame
registered to vote and actually voted for the first time this year and I am
proud I was a part of history. I never thought I would live to see a black
President and I hope this is the beginning of a major change.”-Gorilla Zoe
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of
opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace;
to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of
many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with
cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with
that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
I watched a Black man become president
in the presence of my grandmother, mother and little brother. I feel a feeling
that no words can describe. America is beginning to reflect our own words, that
it seemed out country had once forgotten. We are all created equal, and now
viewed as such. I feel as though I can conquer the world. No man or woman can
stop me from making my dreams come true and in that, I hope to change lives of
other people for the better. Trey Songz
Barack Obama’s victory marks the birth of change. The birth of pride,
progression and inspiration. This is validation of the timeless cliché that
anything is possible. Celebration is in order as we welcome a new
America! –Willie The Kid
I feel proud and hopeful now that
things will change. As a father, a sense of security overwhelms me. This is a
start that our people need to better themselves. Out of this win, I feel that I
will be a better man and I encourage other men to use this as motivation to do
better. Punchline of the group E.M.C
is a new world! Your President is Black! This country and the world are a
better place. All that this nation has endured over the last 8 years – 9/11,
Katrina, The Iraq War, Gas Prices, The Economy, Gore losing, Kerry losing and
Bush – was all for this to happen. Change in America and change in the world.
You better know that if Gore or Kerry had won that Barack Obama would have
never had a chance, so all this happened for a reason. All this struggle had
its purpose. This was our struggle together. So be proud cause now YOUR
PRESIDENT IS BLACK! Isaac Ike Dirty Hayes III
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless
the United States of America.