The first (and hopefully last, vaccine pending) virtual Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday night with appearances by many major players within the Democratic Party, including (among others) former First Lady Michelle Obama, who spoke in support of Democratic nominee Joe Biden with an impassioned, urgent call for action both at the ballot box and in communities at large.
But the night also featured a range of voices from across the political and socioeconomic spectrum, including several prominent Republicans, along with many direct, often devastatingly blunt criticisms of the current occupant of the White House — and how his administration has handled the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
From Michelle Obama’s keynote speech, to a surprise musical performance by Billy Porter, to the family of George Floyd and tributes to people who have died from COVID-19, read on for the 5 most memorable moments from the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
1. Kristin Urquiza Blasts Trump Over Her Father’s Death From COVID-19
Kristin Urquiza became nationally known last month for the furious obituary she wrote for her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, who died of COVID-19. She placed blame for her father’s death squarely on Donald Trump. And in remarks filmed for the DNC, she went even further in her criticism of how Trump has handled the pandemic. “My dad was a healthy 65 year old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” she said in part.
2. A Tribute to America’s Coronavirus Victims
Midway through the night, the convention paused for a heartbreaking video honoring the more than 160,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 since March. Set to John Prine’s “I Remember Everything,” the video features the faces of thousands of people who have died, which eventually form a photographic mosaic of a woman wearing a mask. Watch it below:
3. George Floyd’s Brother Calls for Moment of Silence
Perhaps the most memorable moment came early on, in a speech by George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd, that was introduced Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser. Floyd, standing alongside and another unidentified member of George’ Floyd’s family, led a moment of silence during the Democratic National Convention on Monday night for Floyd and “the many other souls” that have been “lost to hate and injustice.”
“George should be alive today. Breonna Taylor should be alive today. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. Eric Garner should be alive today. Stephon Clark, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland — they should all be alive today,” Philonise Floyd said in part.
4. Michelle Obama’s Impassioned Keynote Speech
The former First Lady’s plea for voters to get engaged — and not let their despair turn to bitterness — was arguably the highlight of the night — it even won over Fox News anchors Chris Wallace, Dana Perino and Juan Williams. Not bad for a speech that warned people who might be thinking about sitting this election out, “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me — they can, and they will, if we don’t make a change in this election.”
5. Bill Porter Sings… With Stephen Stills?
Several celebrities showed up throughout the night, but the appearance that stuck in everyone’s head afterward came at the very end courtesy of an eye catching music video featuring “Pose” star Billy Porter and rock legend Stephen Stills that brought the event to a close. The duo performed a cover of Still’s 1966 Buffalo Springfield hit “For What It’s Worth,” their performances digitally imposed on several colorful backgrounds and protest imagery. It’s weird coming right after Michelle Obama’s keynote, but we’re not complaining. Watch the performance below:
Almost all the networks cut away immediately after Michelle Obama's speech to do analysis meaning you are currently missing this pic.twitter.com/34YivVSq0h
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 18, 2020