In Wilmington, Delaware Saturday Night, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris made history as the first woman -- and first woman of color -- to reach the number two spot in American government. As she bounded out to cheers and (because this is 2020) honks, she did so to the rhythms of "Work That" by Mary J. Blige.
It was the same song heard in August, after she accepted the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. The track leads off Blige's 2007 album Growing Pains, co-written by Blige, Sean Garrett, and Theron Feemster. Its lyrics promote self-confidence and tenacity in the face of adversaries who may "criticize you for your skin tone," and does so with a catchy melody and infectious beat. It paired quite well with Harris's speech, which included messages to "every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities."
Blige did not comment directly on the inclusion of the song, but did take to Instagram to share two pictures of Harris and President-Elect Joe Biden with the caption "BIDEN x HARRIS 2020 #ThankYouJesus🙏🏽"
After Harris's speech, President-Elect Joe Biden, Scranton, Pennsylvania's favorite son, enthusiastically took to the stage to a lesser-known tune by one of America's most famous (and famously Democratic) artists, Bruce Springsteen.
"We Take Care Of Our Own" is a track from The Boss's 2012 album Wrecking Ball, and was played during the Obama-Biden re-election campaign in 2012. Its very "one nation" lyrics echoes "America The Beautiful" with its repeated phrase "from sea to shining sea." Biden's speech touched on this concept repeatedly, saying his vision of does "not see red states and blue states, only sees the United States."
Springsteen did not comment on the use of the song on this celebratory night, but in late October he recorded voice over for a Biden ad that also included his classic 1984 blue collar anthem "My Hometown."
When Biden's speech concluded, the future First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, came out to the version of Steve Winwood's track "Higher Love" remixed by Kygo featuring vocals by Whitney Houston. As more members of the Biden and Harris family, including America's first Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, took to the stage, the music segued to "I Wont Back Down" by Tom Petty.
The estate of Tom Petty wrote on Twitter that they were touched by the inclusion. This is a notable statement, considering that in June they sent a cease and desist to Donald Trump's campaign for using the same song.
“Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate,” their statement read at the time. “He liked to bring people together.”