President Obama will hold a state dinner tonight for British Prime Minister David Cameron that will include performances by John Legend and a wide array of celebrities, politicians and business people. Among the guests at the White House will be Debra Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of BET.
Earlier in the day, Lee was among the dignitaries who attended a welcoming event for the prime minister. It was a ceremony which included speeches focusing on the common heritage shared between the two countries.
Lee’s participation was a reflection of the international expansion of BET, including its growing role in the British market.
In their respective remarks at the welcoming ceremony, the president and the prime minister joked with each other about linguistics. Cameron mentioned an “unfortunate episode,” referring to the War of 1812, when the British burned a good deal of Washington. But both men emphasized the strong relationship between the two countries, with President Obama calling it “the strongest that it’s ever been.”
Instead of being held in the State Dining Room, the scene of many traditional state dinners, the event for Cameron will instead be held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.
First lady Michelle Obama gave a preview of the dinner during an afternoon gathering today in the White House with students from the United States and the United Kingdom while in the State Dining Room. It included an advance tasting of the evening’s desert: steamed lemon pudding, a nod to the traditional English treat.
The first lady left the group, saying, "I have to go look at the tent." The White House said it is far from a regular tent: The "tent" features a 150-foot-wide glass wall overlooking the White House grounds.
The dinner will also include a performance by Mumford and Sons, the British folk-rock group that is said to be a favorite of both Cameron and his wife, Samantha.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)