Elton John was moved to tears after being awarded the National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States to end AIDS after a special performance at the White House.
On Friday night, the singer performed on the White House lawn for the president and first lady and about 2,000 “everyday history makers.”
Titled “A Night of Hope” and “Rhythm of History,” the audience included teachers, students, nurses, LGBTQ+ advocates, military families and mental health advocates.
Organized by The History Channel and A+E Network, John performed several of his hits including Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man and Don’t Let the Sun Go in front of President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Down on Me, awarded the singer the National Humanities Medal for his work to end AIDS and help those living with the disease through the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
John said he was “surprised” and honoured to be recognised.
“Since I started the foundation 30 years ago at the kitchen table in Atlanta, I have committed to leaving no one behind and will continue to do so,” he said.
“We are working towards a future where people of all races, ethnicities, national origins, sexual orientations and gender identities have the opportunity to be free from AIDS, stigma, injustice and abuse – and I’m so grateful for the recognition this brings us One step closer to achieving this goal.”
It was the 75-year-old British songwriter’s first performance at the White House since performing for former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair with Stevie Wonder at a state dinner in 1998.
After more than 50 years of acting, John is currently on his farewell tour, which begins in July.