Black America Votes: Live Updates From The 2020 Democratic National Convention

Tune in to BET's daily news updates and primetime coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention August 17 – 20, 2020.

Michelle Obama's DNC Speech Pushes For A Better America

11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT:
On The Story Of America:
“There’s a lot of beauty in that story. There’s a lot of pain in it, too, a lot of struggle and injustice and work left to do. And who we choose as our president in this election will determine whether or not we honor that struggle and chip away at that injustice and keep alive the very possibility of finishing that work.
I am one of a handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency. And let me once again tell you this: the job is hard. It requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass, and an ability to listen—and an abiding belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this country has meaning and worth.”

On Black Lives That Matter: “And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office.

Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.
Empathy: that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The ability to walk in someone else’s shoes; the recognition that someone else’s experience has value, too. Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don’t stand in judgment. We reach out because, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” It is not a hard concept to grasp. It’s what we teach our children.”
On Do We Still Have To Go High?: “So what do we do now? What’s our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, ‘When others are going so low, does going high still really work?’ My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.
But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.
And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.
So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”


Bernie Sanders Issues A Warning

10:45 p.m. ET/7:45 p.m. PT: Sen. Bernie Sanders in his address to the Democratic National Convention warned against what he called Trump administration authoritarianism and it's ability ot undermine American democracy.
The former Democratic presidential candidate said that he would work across the aisles and across political ideologies to defend the nation from an existential threat.

"Under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country. As long as I am here, I will work with progressives, with moderates, and, yes, with conservatives to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat," Sanders said.

Holding Trump Responsible For COVID-19 Spread

10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT: Kristin Urquiza gave a message to the Democratic Convention focusing on what she said was President Trump’s incompetence in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected 5 million people in the United States and killed 170,000, including her father -- who had been a Trump supporter.

DNC video "Rise Up"

10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT: Tonight at the Democratic National Convention, the theme of "We the People," based on the United States Constitution is ever present. The "Rise Up" video is meant to showcase that theme against the America under President Donald Trump today. Check out Bruce Springsteen singing along as images of an problematic country follow. 

Biden Tackles Issue Of Race Head On

9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT: Former Vice President Joe Biden sat down during the Democratic National Convention for a taped conversation to answer questions about race relations in America and how he as the potential new leader of this country would remedy some of the system injustices that continue to exist in this country. The conversation began with five individuals asking questions from remote locations including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, social justice activist Jamira Burley, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, and Gwen Carr, author, activist and the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed by a New York Police Department officer six years ago. 

Biden was able to carefully listen and intently respond to their queries and expectations from a leader who can help bridge the broken bonds of this country. The conversation culminated with real voices from people who chose to express their opinions on how America can unite towards a path of equality, fairness and justice and what is needed to fix the racial injustice and systemic racism that has been a part of the United States way before the killing of George Floyd.   

Clyburn Reiterates His Endorsement of Biden

9:50 p.m. ET/6:50 p.m. PT: South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement of Joe Biden in February essentially turned the tide of his campaign, gave a speech to virtual viewers of the Democratic National Convention and continued to praise the former vice president.

“We will need a president who sees unifying people as a requirement of the job,” said Clyburn, the House Majority Whip. “A president who understands the true meaning of community—and how to build it through trust and humility. And with so many families experiencing loss in this pandemic—lost jobs, lost loved ones, and lost confidence in the president to keep us safe—we need a president who understands both profound loss; and what it takes to bounce back.”

Clyburn’s endorsement just prior to the South Carolina Democratic Primary encouraged African Americans in that state to give their votes to Biden, which bolstered his campaign and led him to become the presumptive party nominee.

In his praise, Clyburn called Biden “as good a man as he is a leader.”

George Floyd’s Family Members Call for Moment of Silence

9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT: Philonise and Rodney Floyd, the brothers of George Floyd spoke to viewers of the convention speaking the names of several people who have died at the hands of police or due to racial profiling.

“George should be alive today,” said Philonise Floyd, but he also called the name of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and others whose names have been lifted up for racial justice.

“We should always find ourselves in what John Lewis called ‘good trouble’ said Floyd before calling for a moment of silence.


Convention Called to Order

9:10 p.m. ET/6:10 p.m. PT: The 2020 Democratic National Convention was called to order at 9 p.m. for the first time under a virtual format, hosted by actress Eva Longoria. Still based in Milwaukee, the event was opened by the gavel of Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson and by a video of the Preamble to the Constitution recited by several political notables including labor activist Dolores Huerta, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo, and criminal justice reform advocate Donna Hylton among others, and by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
It was preceded by the Pledge of Allegiance and followed by a medley of the national anthem sang by a virtual choir representing all 50 states and every U.S. territory.

Barack Obama Reveals His Summer Playlist Ahead of Democratic Convention

8:35 p.m. ET/5:35 p.m. PT: Former President Obama tweeted a list of his favorite artists and songs -- some classic, some contemporary -- a few hours before the beginning of the opening of the Democratic National Convention.

It’s a list of summer listening tunes and it consists of hits ranging from “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion, released in 2020 to “All Day Picnic” by War from 1971. It lists the former chief executive’s range of tastes from jazz to soul and from hip hop to rock.

It also has artists who will be performing at the convention this week including Leon Bridges, Common, Jennifer Hudson and John Legend.

‘Poll of Polls’ Shows Biden Ahead of Trump, Wide Approval of Harris

6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT: Just hours before the Democratic National Convention opens, national polls show that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is keeping his lead ahead of President Trump, according to CNN’s Poll of Polls released on Monday (Aug. 17).

Biden, who is expected to accept the party’s nomination on Thursday leads Trump 51 to 42 percent among nationwide registered voters. A poll by the network which was released Sunday showed Biden at 50 percent support and Trump at 46 percent, but when averaged with other polls, the wider margin was revealed.

The Poll of Polls brings together the six most recent national telephone polls that measure the perspectives of registered voters. Two of them were conducted after Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate.

In one of them, the Washington Post/ABC News poll, 54 percent of Americans said they approved of Harris being chosen, that includes 82 percent of Democrats.



Highlights from Tonight’s Kickoff of the 2020 Democratic National Convention

4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT: The kickoff for the 2020 Democratic National Convention airs tonight and our forever FLOTUS will deliver her impassioned keynote under the theme: “We the People Rise.”

A lot has changed across the United States since Michelle Obama last graced the DNC stage in Philadelphia in 2016 with a speech urging people to choose “character and conviction, decency and grace” and vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Back then, Obama appealed to our sense of what’s good and right and asked us to consider our children and their wellbeing when we selected the best person to lead our nation. 

“When they go low, we go high,” she instructed to thunderous applause, in what would later become a mantra for the party.

RELATED: BET BUZZ: Barack and Michelle Obama Lead Democratic Convention Lineup

Tonight, we believe Obama will strike the same chord – only this time, she’ll be talking about her first-hand experience with Democratic presumptive nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and his historic selection of a running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Obama will no doubt remind us that even though we have faced a tough year – with a devastating pandemic that has claimed over 170,000 lives in the U.S. and left tens of millions of people unemployed where last month 1 in 5 workers was collecting unemployment benefits; racial injustices that continues to impact everything from criminal justice to disparities in healthcare; and a GOP president and administration that refuses to fund the U.S. Postal Service in what appears to be an attempt to suppress the number of mail-in votes – we are Americans and thus must possess a spirit of perseverance.

Obama will restore our faith, particularly for Black America who has felt the sting of these disparities even sharper than other racial groups. She will remind us that we don’t buckle under pressure, we fight for what’s right and fair.  

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will also be delivering a speech tonight speaking under the “We the People Recovering” section. Also speaking tonight will be John Kasich, a Republican and the former governor of Ohio, and Christine Whitman, another Republican and the former governor of New Jersey. Both will be speaking under the “We the People Putting Country over Party” segment of the program.

In between the various speeches, check out soul singer Leon Bridges, who will provide entertainment, as will singer and songwriter, Billy Porter and Steven Stills.  A multicultural choir is also set to virtually perform the National Anthem. The choir includes singers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Cheyenne Nation and five U.S. territories.—Dawn Onley 


Welcome To BET's 2020 Democratic National Convention Coverage

Monday, August 17, 2020: Follow BET’s coverage with our live blog for the latest updates from the Democratic National Convention. We’ll feature news about the event, speeches, performances and commentary August 17-20. 

Each night, the convention will include speeches from Party leaders, rising stars and real people. Tonight you’ll hear from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nevada Sen. Catherina Cortez Masto, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, Mississippi Sen. Bennie Thompson, Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore , Ohio Gov. John Kasich Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.   

The convention closes on Thursday, August 20 with the official nomination of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and presumptive candidate for vice president Sen. Kamala Harris, who will deliver their speeches remotely from Delaware and share their vision for the country. will have all the news updates that matter to Black America so stay tuned each day and watch from the CBS News: Race To 2020 live feed above from at 9-11 p.m. ET each night.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.