The annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at the White House is normally, and nominally, a festive occasion, one intended to extend the joy of the season to other Christmas-enjoying folks around the country. This year’s 94th-annual ceremony was no different, on its face; however, we are now in the last waning days of the Obama administration and therefore: sadness. Sadness at the loss of this wonderful family as the center of our country’s political life; sadness that a family of color is soon to vacate the White House; and sadness at what lies ahead.
All of which is why we should all watch and absorb this powerful performance of “Sunday Candy” by Chance the Rapper at said tree-lighting ceremony, for it contains multitudes. Watching it, we’re reminded of Chance’s performative and creative power (which is substantial, as the Obamas intent faces suggest), but also of Dave Chappelle’s recent Saturday Night Live monologue, in which he observed the effect that having African-Americans in the White House has had on black America — up to and including being invited, as an African-American, into the White House. This is a season for giving, and herein Chance gives us not just an on-fire performance but also a reminder of what it means for him to be president-adjacent. He was also able to sing ‘Jingle Bells’ with President Obama, along with James Taylor, Marc Anthony, Eva Longoria, and more. Watch, listen, and learn.