Joe Biden moves Elton John to tears with surprise honour after concert


elton john joe biden white house concert
Images: C-SPAN

Sir Elton John has reacted with shock and was moved to tears after US President Joe Biden surprised him with the National Humanities Medal – in part for his decades of work fighting AIDS – after a special performance at the White House.

The musician performed on the White House lawn for the President and the First Lady and a crowd of 2,000 “everyday history makers” on Friday night.

Among them were teachers, students, nurses, LGBTQ+ advocates, military families and mental health advocates.

After Elton’s performance, President Biden and first lady Dr Jill Biden surprised the singer with the National Humanities Medal, for both Elton’s 50-year music career and his decades of HIV/AIDS advocacy through his Elton John AIDS Foundation.

he medal’s citation honours Elton “for moving our souls with his powerful voice and one of the defining song books of all time. An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance the simple truth — that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Elton John reacts to surprise National Humanities Medal honour

Visibly shocked and emotional, Elton John said he was “flabbergasted” and felt “humbled and honoured” by the recognition.

“I will treasure this so much. It will make me double my efforts to make sure this disease goes away,” he said.

“America’s kindness to me as a musician is second to none. But in the war against AIDS and HIV it’s even bigger. I can’t thank you enough. I’m really emotional about this.

Elton John added, “Since I founded the Foundation at my kitchen table in Atlanta 30 years ago, I made a commitment not to leave anyone behind and will continue on this mission.

“We’re striving for a future where people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations and gender identities have the opportunity to live free from Aids, stigma, injustice and maltreatment.

“I’m so grateful recognition like this brings us a step closer to making that a reality.”

President Biden said, “On behalf of the American people, thank you. And I sincerely mean this, thank you for moving the soul of our nation.”

Elton John is continuing his final Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour, after 50 years in music.

Early next year, the musician is returning to Australia and New Zealand for more concerts.

Watch Elton John’s reaction to receiving the medal below:

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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