WASHINGTON, D.C.–Just hours after President Obama was sworn in to his second term, a host of musicians, actors and dignitaries lined the red carpet at BET Networks’ 2013 Inaugural Ball.

The black-tie affair, hosted by comedian Wayne Brady was held at the Smithsonian National Art Museum and Portrait Gallery in Northwest D.C. Jan 21.

The event was attended by numerous celebrities including Gabrielle Union, Kenny Lattimore and Morris Chestnut.

On the red carpet, luminaries expressed their reactions to President Obama’s inaugural address earlier that day.

“I loved it, I thought his speech was very brief, to the point and very broad and inclusive on a wide array of different things,” said Paxton Baker, executive vice president and general manager of Centric, a subsidiary television network of BET.

“He discussed some of the things he thought the country should improve and talked about places we could go and that it’s up to us to help him get there.”

Syndicated television show personality Judge Greg Mathis explained that Obama’s speech gave him a sense of pride and likened it to the words of late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“It reminded me of the courage that Dr. King held in his day,” he said. “King began his fight for justice in his early thirties. Now we have many of our brothers who are running away from injustice instead of fighting it.”

Mathis also discussed some of the things that he would like to see during Obama’s next term.

“I look forward to him looking into the criminal justice system and the flaws that are there,” he said. “We know that there are Black men in the prison system that make up the majority and yet they make up less than 10 percent of society. That has to be something that is addressed–and I think it will be.”

While the president remained the talk of the evening, celebs also expressed their thoughts on the First Lady.

“She’s an incredibly brilliant woman and she’s an inspiration to all of us,” actress Tatyana Ali said. “Their relationship is just the most romantic love story. Everybody dreams about that kind of love and connection.”

As the night progressed, guests moved from mingling in the hallway to showcasing their best moves on the dance floor.

Old-school R&B crooners Bel Biv DeVoe capped off the evening with a special performance and rapper Jermaine Dupri jumped behind the “ones and twos” for a special DJ set. 

Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor