Youth Ball, Part I
Our colleague DeNeen Brown reports:
Early on at the Youth ball, a smell of barbecue is spilling out onto the dance floor and Kid Rock is singing an old song, which he says, "sums up how I feel." He strums a guitar and sings: "Day after day I'm more confused. Look for the light in the pouring rain..."
And the crowd of "youth," young people who fueled Obama's campaign, sing along to this old song, an Obama generation song. They know the words. They hold plastic cups from a cash bar. Some dance bare foot. The feel is very much like a high school prom. Girls in long dresses dancing in groups. Crowds standing near the stage.
At 8:51, the organizers open a back door and in comes a stream of young people. Three women in black satin stand in middle of floor and swing low on young knees. It was hard to find anyone with gray hair in the crowd.
Allan McFarlane, 28, and Ashlee McFarlane, 25, said that Ashlee worked for the Democrats of Georgia, which is how she made friends with a person on the Presidential Inaugural Committee who invited her to the ball. They said tickets cost $75.
Allan stands near the back, still feeling the speech: "I thought it was powerful to hear it in person. It was mind-blowing."
Ashlee, in a chocolate satin gown, her hair swept up, said she couldn't wait for the Obamas' arrival. "I love the love they have for each other," she said. "I want to see them happy and relaxed. I admire the love and affection they have for each other. I want a glimpse of that."
A girl in a black halter with a tattoo placed perfectly in the middle of her back dances in a circle to "Candy Girl," old music. She steps side to side with a plastic cup in the left hand and silver pouch under her right arm.
A deejay is playing Michael Jackson's "Rock with You." Arms go up. They are dancing to their parents' music at the youth ball. A backdrop of white stars light up a stage where six red beams stand. Now they are playing Prince. A woman in gold with a laced back presses her Palm Pilot.
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