Antony Blinken has a hidden talent. The American Secretary of State created a surprise on social networks Wednesday evening, by broadcasting a video in which, electric guitar in hand under the chandeliers of the State Department, he performs a blues song.
The episode took place as part of the launch of the “musical diplomacy initiative”, which consists of Washington sending its best artists around the world to strengthen cultural ties. A lifelong music lover, the American diplomat introduced his performance with a humorous captatio benevolentiae. “I once had ambitions to try to make it in the music business... But it turns out I was just missing one crucial skill: talent,” he joked, saying he was certain to “clear the floor” following his performance.
Antony Blinken, however, kept the song Hoochie Coochie Man by blues legend Muddy Waters without a false note until the end, in a groove voice. Thursday morning, the video, posted by the Secretary of State himself, had nearly 8 million views on X.
“In my own life, and now in my own travels in this work, I have seen how music can transcend geographic boundaries and language barriers,” the American diplomat elaborated in a speech preceding his performance . “Music gives us a space to express ourselves, to hear ourselves, to build a sense of community and understanding that helps us work together.”
Among the thirty countries which will receive American artists are China and Saudi Arabia, a state where the practice of strict Islam has only recently authorized artists to perform in public. “For generations, American diplomacy has strived to harness the power of music to truly build bridges and foster collaboration between Americans and people around the world,” said Antony Blinken.