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President Barack Obama thanked musician Stevie Wonder for creating “a style that’s uniquely American” as he presented the singer-songwriter the nation’s highest award for pop music.

President Obama, who called Wonder the soundtrack of his youth, gave the star the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an East Room tribute that featured Tony Bennett, Martina McBride and Wonder himself. The president joked that the group was “the most accomplished Stevie Wonder cover band in history.”

Wonder was emotional at times, thanking Obama for the award and reflecting on what his election as the first black president means to the United States.

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