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Tonight, Obama Gets Backing From Hollywood

Actress Natalie Portman is scheduled to speak Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.
Isaac Brekken
Getty Images
Actress Natalie Portman is scheduled to speak Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

We know Hollywood — read Clint Eastwood — was a significant part of the narrative for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

We've already seen hints of Hollywood at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. For example, one of the best received speeches of Tuesday was the one delivered by actor Kal Penn, of Harold & Kumar fame.

Obama is no stranger to Hollywood. In 2008, he harnessed the star power to excite young people. That November, 5 million new Americans headed to the polls — many of them were young. And many of them — according to Pew 66 percent of them — voted for Obama. In 2004, 54 percent of them gave their vote to John Kerry.

Perhaps, that story is best told by the music-video mashup put together by the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.Am in February of 2008. It featured Obama giving his New Hampshire primary speech, with Will.i.Am singing and an army of young stars repeating the refrain that marked Obama's rise to the presidency: "Yes, we can."

It was a who's who, from actress Scarlett Johansson to basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to singer John Legend.

No doubt tonight, the campaign is trying to recapture some of that energy with an all-star cast that will pave the way for Obama's acceptance speech.

The campaign hasn't released an official schedule, yet. But CNN got its hands on a list of speakers. Among them: Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria.

The Foo Fighters are also expected to perform.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.