Biden awards Elton John humanities medal after White House performance

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted Elton John to play on Friday night at the White House’s South Lawn during “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” an event funded by A&E Networks and The History Channel.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted Elton John to play on Friday night at the White House’s South Lawn during “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” an event funded by A&E Networks and The History Channel.

“Seamus Heaney once wrote, and I quote, ‘Once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.’ Throughout his incredible career, Sir Elton John has been that tidal wave, a tidal wave to help people rise up and make hope and history rhyme,” Biden said.

Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is calling the show "A Night When Hope and History Rhyme," a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The 75-year-old star, who has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research to help HIV and AIDS patients and advocated for the rights of the LGBTQ+ worldwide, is traveling for his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour.

Elton John performs on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. John is calling the show "A Night When Hope and History Rhyme," a reference to a poem by Irishman Seamus Heaney that President Joe Biden often quotes. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

John played “Your Song” for about 2,000 guests, including former first lady Laura Bush, British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Elizabeth Pierce, Ruby Bridges, Jeanne White-Ginder, Malala Yousafzai, and a long list of public servants, first responders, and LGBTQ+ advocates.

When John was done with his performance, Biden awarded him the National Humanities Medal. The late Queen Elizabeth II knighted him, Sir Elton John, in 1998.

President Joe Biden speaks as David Furnish, husband of Elton John, left, Elton John and first lady Jill Biden listen after Biden presented him with a National Humanities Medal after a concert on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.