The event—which had plenty of African attendees, and skewed younger than the typical D.C. lobbying fete—mixed politics with some serious dancing. Before the show began, messages flashed on the screen including one noting that 1,000 children are born worldwide each day with HIV. And a bipartisan group of Washington VIPs, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim mingled upstairs while others stood below. (To his credit, ONE’s president and CEO Michael Elliott actually rocked out with crowd and at the very end, onstage.)
Kuti performed both “Truth Don Die” and “Day by Day,” singing “Day by day/By night, by night/We work and pray/For peace to reign.” Ipupa, with his swaying hips, and D’Banj—who served as the show’s closer appealed to the women in the house. “Shake your bum-bum!” D’Banj called out repeatedly, pausing to translate at one point. “If you’re American and you don’t know what I’m saying, just shake your behind.”
Even as he instigated a dance competition and referred to parts of a woman’s anatomy, however, D’Banj delivered an earnest message about “the power of music” and how the summit offered America a chance to connect with developing countries for a broader cause, “to make the South and the North become what?”
“One!” the crowd screamed in response.