Obama Makes Appearance at Red Rooster Harlem

The Harlem eatrey owned by Ethiopian-born Chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson hosted President Barack Obama. The above image shows the crowd outside Red Rooster Harlem on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Marcussamuelsson.com)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York (Tadias) – Last night, President Barack Obama made an appearance at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem, where the Democratic National Committee was holding a fundraiser. The event marked Obama’s first trip to Harlem since being elected as the nation’s first African American President.

The gala ($30,800-a-person) was attended by about 50 people, including Harlem’s long-serving congressman Charles B. Rangel. Reporters were briefly allowed inside the private event “at the new and wildly popular Red Rooster restaurant,” which is owned by Ethiopian-born Chef and Entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson. Per NYT: “Telling the donors this is “a challenging time,” Mr. Obama said, “I could not do what I do” without the knowledge “that I have a lot of people rooting for me, a lot of people supporting me.”’

“It was an honor to host the event and to share the food with the President, his team, and all the guests at our restaurant,” Samuelsson, who also prepared the Obama’s first State dinner, posted on his website. “After an amazing experience cooking at the State Dinner back in 2009, I am proud to host Mr. Obama at Red Rooster. It means a lot to bring the conversation to Harlem, and I wish him the best as his campaign continues.”

The President also made a stop at the Studio Museum, a few blocks away, where he met with about 125 special guests and supporters.

A much larger crowd, though not all rooting for Obama, had stood outside the restaurant hoping to get at least a glimpse of him. According to AP: “Among the people gathered at barricades on 125th Street and Lenox Avenue was Elizabeth Simmons. The 29-year-old teacher said she was excited the president was visiting a restaurant in the neighborhood Tuesday. She said she was glad to see him supporting a community establishment. Others talked about his tenure, saying he had lacked the time to deal with the problems facing urban communities like Harlem. Thirty-year-old Malcolm Woods said, “He’s only one man.”"

Others said Obama needs to do more to alleviate the nation’s economic woes. Nellie Hester-Bailey, director of the Harlem Tenants’ Council, told Sky News: “There is a real sense of anger that there is this major disconnect. It’s a slap in the face when people, not just in this community but across America, cannot find jobs or support themselves. It is particularly difficult when you look at the cost of America’s actions in Libya, and working people are being asked to bear the brunt of budget cuts.”

And per New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf: “Harlem is the symbolic African-American capital of America, the most Democratic of places. He’s got to re-energise the people who helped get him to the White House. Obama is saying ‘Hey, remember me? The Republicans are coming and I need your help’. The 2012 presidential race is really not that far away, and in classic American style, it’s starting now.”

The Harlem events were expected to net $1.5 Million for the Democrats.

Cover Image:
Photo courtesy of Marcussamuelsson.com

Related video from Tadias Archives:
Watch: Marcus Samuelsson Gives Tadias a tour of Red Rooster


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