Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, surprised attendees at a State Department reception by taking the stage and delivering a remarkable blues performance. The event, held on Wednesday, was part of the State Department’s music diplomacy program, promoting cultural exchange and collaboration.
Blinken, known for his diplomatic prowess, displayed a different talent as he confidently picked up a guitar and launched into a rendition of the blues classic “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters. He began with a touch of humor, saying, “If this doesn’t clear the house, I don’t know what will.” However, instead of clearing the room, his soulful performance had the audience cheering and shouting in excitement.
The video of Blinken’s impromptu blues performance quickly made its way onto social media. As he swayed on stage, Blinken’s passion for music was evident, prompting praise online. And when the song concluded, the in-person crowd rose to their feet, giving him a standing ovation for his impressive rendition.
Watch the full video below
The reception also featured performances by renowned musicians. These included jazz icon Herbie Hancock, Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, and rising pop singer Gayle. This gathering of musical talents marked the launch of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative. A new program initiated by Blinken, its aim is to send top American artists around the world as cultural ambassadors.
In his speech before the performance, Blinken emphasized the power of music to build bridges and foster collaboration between nations.
“Music at its core is about a bond rooted in our shared humanity,”Antony Blinken
The initiative continues the long-standing tradition of using music to connect with people worldwide. This practice has roots in the Cold War when the United States sent artists to captivate audiences overseas. The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative will bring a diverse range of American acts to 30 countries over the coming year.
Antony Blinken’s unexpected musical talents have added a new dimension to his diplomatic profile, adding to the rich musical history of his hometown of Yonkers, New York. And, his new Global Music Diplomacy Initiative promises to strengthen cultural ties between the United States and the rest of the world through the universal language of music.