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Celebrities speak on behalf of Hillary Clinton at DNC

Broadway performers sang "What the World Needs Now" during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. TANNEN MAURY/EPA

When he was invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention, filmmaker Lee Daniels said he wondered if the party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, knew who he was. She may know he directed the Oscar-nominated movie, “Precious,” Daniels told the crowd at the DNC Wednesday night, but does she really know him.

“Does she know my sister is under house arrest? Does she know my brother is in jail? Does she know my nephew is in jail? Does she know my cousin is in and out of jail?” Daniels said from the podium. “Does she know my father was a police officer who was shot and murdered right here in Philadephia? That’s the America I know. And still I rise!”


Daniels was one of several celebrities who spoke on behalf of Clinton on the third night of the Democratic convention. Actress Sigourney Weaver introduced a climate-change film directed by James Cameron that featured Jack Black, Don Cheadle, and America Ferrera. And actress Angela Bassett, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” recited the names of the people shot and killed a year ago at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

“We say their names, but is that enough?” said Bassett. “Hillary Clinton challenges us to turn our grief into action and we have to do that.”

Several stars of stage and screen also took the stage to perform the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Among those passing the microphone to one another were Debra Messing, Idina Menzel, Ben Vereen, Darren Criss, Richard Kind, Kristen Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, and Rosie Perez.