The White House Hosts Glitzy State Dinner

The event celebrated the relationship between the U.S. and Britain.

Posted: 03/15/2012 10:28 PM EDT

Washington, D.C., is the Hollywood of the political world and an invitation to a White House State Dinner is the most coveted ticket in town. Think of it as Oscar night on the Potomac, a star-studded event attended by leaders in business, government, entertainment and journalism and, of course, the typical Washington power brokers. Wednesday night’s event was in honor of a visit to the United States from British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha.


Debra L. Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of BET Networks, was one of the bold-faced names there, and according to one news report, dazzled in hot pink shoes designed by Brian Atwood. Other Black star-power shined from British actor Idris Elba, star of HBO’s The Wire; California attorney general Kamala Harris; PBS host Gwen Ifill, accompanied by actor Wendell Pierce; Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama; and Attorney General Eric Holder. John Legend, a favorite of the Obamas, also performed.


The theme of the night was a “backyard celebration,” and 300-plus guests dined in a white tent set up on the White House South Lawn. At least part of the feast literally came from the White House’s backyard, featuring ingredients from First Lady Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden’s winter harvest.


According to the White House press pool report, the tent sparkled with elegance and two dozen chandeliers. Some tables featured “perfectly rounded bouquets of carnations, hydrangeas, lilacs and violets in shades of green and purple, while slim vases of single pink roses decorated a few others.


Obama and Cameron, who’d shared a boys' night out the night before at an NCAA tournament game in Ohio, had nothing but good words for each other.


“In good times and bad, he’s just the kind of partner that you want at your side. I trust him. He says what he does and he does what he says. And I’ve seen his character,” Obama said of Cameron.


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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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