this is "nightline." >> tonight, presidential trump. a message of unity and hope in his first major address as commander in chief. >> we can only get there together. we are one people with one destiny. >> promising a new era of health, wealth, and dreams. >> the time for trivial fights is behind us. >> a side of the president americans have been waiting for. is it enough to satisfy his fiercest critics? ♪ plus, no record label, no problem. chance the rapper is conquering the music world with hustle and heart. >> my dad taught me to work hard, my mom taught me to work for myself. now i work for myself really hard. >> his exclusive reveal. the message he tattooed to his
chest. what he's saying about it now. and giving voice. ♪ must be love on the brain >> reporter: a prestigious award for a pop star with love on the brain. why harvard university named rihanna named 2017 humanitarian of the year. but first the "nightline 5." when i brought jake home, i wanted him to eat healthy. so i feed jake purina cat chow naturals indoor. a nutritious formula with no artificial flavors made specifically for indoor cats. purina cat chow. nutrition to build better lives. only tylenol rapid release gels have laser-drilled holes. they release medicine fast for fast pain relief. tylenol. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
good evening. thank you for joining us. president trump delivering his first major address as commander in chief to a house, senate, and nation divided. many americans hoping for unity. but anticipating fireworks. the fiery divisive rhetoric that has characterized the national discourse for over a year. but instead, what they got was a president. here's abc's david wright. >> members of congress, the president of the united states. >> reporter: tonight on capitol hill, president trump preached unity to a country that's deeply divided. >> each american generation passes the torch of truth, liberty, and justice. that torch is now in our hands. and we will use it to light up the world. >> reporter: this politician who's often accused of fanning fears, even race-baiting, began his speech with a shout-out for
black history month. >> tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of black history month, we are reminded of our nation's path towards civil rights and the work that still remains to be done. we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms. >> reporter: this politician, elected promising to drain the swamp in washington, tonight stressed continuity and common purpose. >> i am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength. and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart. >> reporter: tonight's tone markedly different from his inaugural jeremiah. >> rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape. this american carnage stops
right here and stops right now. >> reporter: tonight, baptized by the rain here in washington, rehearsing his speech in the back seat of the beast, as he set off for the capitol, we saw the new testament trump. promising america some sort of redemption. >> every hurting family can find healing and hope. our citizens deserve this. and so much more. so why not join forces and finally get the job done and get it done right? >> reporter: this is the first time president trump has been back here on capitol hill since the inauguration. and like that speech, this is one of the rituals of democracy. a big address aimed partly at the american people, but maybe mostly at the lawmakers who work here at the capitol. congress is a bit of a tougher crowd, isn't it? >> a tricky crowd, a tricky room. >> reporter: tonight he rose to the occasion. calling attention to surprise guests in the presidential box.
he was able to soften his policy proposals and blunt some of the criticisms he's faced. the longest applause by far was for karen owens, widow of chief petty officer ryan owens, sitting next to ivanka trump, fighting back the tears. her husband killed in action in that raid in yemen a month ago today. her father has been critical of the administration, calling for an investigation. >> ryan is looking down right now. you know that. and he's very happy because i think he just broke a record. >> i thought it was his best speech he's given. it was deliberate, disciplined. the longest level of discipline i've seen him exercise in a speech. >> reporter: tonight had all the trappings of a state of the union. the rituals, even the wardrobe showed the restraint of decorum. the vice president and the speaker wore blue ties, not trump red. the first lady in all black. in stark contrast to many female
members of congress who wore white, honoring women's rights. democratic leader nancy pelosi had asked her party members to be respectful. some of them gave trump's proposals the thumbs-down. but they held their tongues. the agenda trump set out tonight in broad brushstrokes pretty much what he's been promising all along. stronger defense. lower taxes for corporations and for the middle class. tougher borders. and that wall. >> we will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border. >> reporter: this wasn't just a bumper sticker approach. trump held out the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform. >> -- that i believe republicans and democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades. >> the question is, can he keep that discipline he had tonight and still be the outsider that's fighting for change on behalf of americans he is representing in the country? that is a balancing act he has
not been able to do thus far. >> reporter: on ending obamacare he was more direct. >> tonight i am also calling on this congress to repeal and replace obamacare. obamacare is collapsing. and we must act decisively to protect all americans. >> reporter: his legislative agenda a tall order, both to pass and to pay for. >> i have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. >> reporter: republican lawmakers have been getting an earful on that in their districts. >> it needs to be repealed and replaced -- [ angry shouting ] >> reporter: many facing angry crowds at town hall meetings. mobs almost shouting them down. tonight the former governor of kentucky giving the democratic response, urged republicans not to act rashly on obamacare. >> does the affordable care act need some repairs?
sure it does. but so far, every republican idea to replace the affordable care act would reduce the number of americans covered, despite your promises to the contrary. >> reporter: a new poll out today finds nearly 60% of americans doubt the truthfulness of information released by the trump white house. and two-thirds of americans consider the president's use of social media to be reckless and distracting. for more than a month now, he's waged a constant war on the media. >> i turn on the tv, open the newspapers, i see stories of chaos. >> reporter: but there was none of that tonight. no press-bashing. today, for the first time, trump admitted the white house shares some of the blame for the rocky start the administration seems to have gotten. >> i think i get an "a" in terms what was i've actually done. in terms of messaging, i'd give myself a "c," "c-plus." >> i'd imagine you'd give him higher marks tonight.
>> i think that's somewhere we can agree. he was totally clear. he stayed on message. he was very disciplined. i think i'd give him, as far as messaging, an "a." >> i give him an "a." he is change, he's disruptive change, that's what he was elected to bring to washington. change is scary. over the past month he's made it even scarier. what did he do tonight? he made change safer, calmer. it's going to get him at least another couple of months to get an agenda on the table. and maybe begin to get some things done. >> here's a guy who's been mired in fights that i think republicans and democrats both would agree in some cases are trivial. saying tonight -- >> the time for small thinking is over. the time for trivial fights is behind us. from now on, america will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears. >> reporter: the test now is
whether he can follow through. i'm david wright for "nightline" in washington. next, he's 23 years old and he's performed for a president. so why does this rising star still have no record label? and later, rihanna named harvard's humanitarian of the year. how she's taking students around the world under her umbrella. ♪ stick it out to the end intelligent safety features... ...and america's best truck warranty. take on the everyday, with six 20-17 iihs top safety picks. it's clear why we're america's fastest growing auto brand. now, get presidents' day offers like 0% financing for up to 72 months on 11 models. or save up to 45-50 on select models. ♪ ...one of many pieces in my life. so when my asthma symptoms kept coming back on my long-term control medicine.
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and performing for the president at the white house. all without the backing of a single record label. why would he need one now? he told katie couric why he's still committed to doing it all himself. ♪ >> reporter: fresh off winning three grammys just three weeks ago -- >> i claim the victory in the name of the lord, let's go! >> reporter: 2017 has already been no problem for chance the rapper. ♪ ain't no problem ain't no problem with me ♪ >> reporter: born chancer bennett, the 23-year-old has stayed true to his roots. when he invited me to try some of the famous harold's chicken in his hometown of chicago, i couldn't say no. >> whoa. this is serious. >> yeah. >> whoa. >> what you got on there right now, that's mild sauce. that's something you can only get in chicago. >> it's not that hot? >> tell me what you think. >> it's good. >> it's flame. >> reporter: it's been a whirlwind couple of years for the young performer whose success on the heels of his most recent album "coloring book" has
launched him into the national spotlight. from a tribute to the late muhammad ali at the espes -- ♪ we're better better better >> reporter: to performing at the white house christmas tree lighting ceremony -- ♪ i come to the church for the candy the peppermints is the truth ♪ >> reporter: unlike almost every artist out there, chance works for himself and is doing it his way. you've never signed with a record label. why not? >> i think there's a lot of attention on me not signing a record deal. i also don't believe in publishing deals or traditional upper management style of, you know, of music being distributed. i get to choose how much my music costs. i get to choose when my music gets released. i choose when i go on tour. who i work with. what movies i work with. >> would you ever consider signing with a record label at this point? >> no. but do i like sometimes think like -- dang, this would be way easier if i had a machine behind me?
yeah, i think about it all the time. >> reporter: the constant hustle and work ethic inherited from his mother and father. >> my dad can't go two sentences without telling you how proud he is of me. my dad taught me to work hard and my mom taught me to work for myself. so now i work for myself really hard. >> reporter: chance's success didn't come overnight. the rapper moved from chicago to l.a. in 2014, only to find that home is where the heart is. >> when i was in los angeles and i was living like crazy, and i had a really, really bad xanax addiction, and i remember like starting to feel like i wasn't myself. like i wasn't doing something right. and getting sick a lot. ♪ hands tied >> reporter: chance says a return to faith and the work of gospel legend kirk franklin gave him a personal revolution. ♪ do you want a revolution
>> how does faith influence your sound? >> i don't remember what it was that made me start listening to kirk again. but i grew up in the church. but i didn't really know how good kirk franklin was until i was in l.a. ♪ god shall wipe away every tear ♪ >> when i stlistening to that, okay, is in what i need to be working on. ♪ the revolution >> it got me into arranging music, understanding how chords work, how -- not just how important pitch is but how important tone is. >> reporter: the rapper became a first-time father in 2015. he and his 1 1/2-year-old daughter kensley take to instagram to show off their daddy/daughter escapades. >> we just look adorable! >> kensley coming in was the refreshing jump start. not even refreshing. it didn't refresh my life, it started my life. when she came along, everything
fast tracked and became so much more important. >> reporter: it's also chance's love for his hometown that keeps him grounded. >> i'm a plant. you uproot a plant and put that somewhere else, it's not going to grow the same. you know? so -- this is where i'm supposed to be and where i'm supposed to grow. figure out what i'm supposed to be. >> chicago's changed a lot i think since you grew up here. i know there was a 58% increase in gun violence in chicago in 2016. what do you think is going on? >> what is going on is focus. i think as individual acts -- it's, you know -- it's terrifying. and also sad. it would be dope if all the politicians on the left and right could approve a temporary budget that could fund after-school programs at the schools. you don't have any respect for life if you don't have anything going on.
you know? or respect for anyone else's life if you don't have anything going on. then again, i am also just a rapper from chicago. i don't really have all the answers. >> i read you got a tattoo. >> i only have one tattoo, no one's seen it. >> above your heart. >> i'll show it to you. it's a backwards tattoo. it says "get back to work." it's a mirror tattoo. which is a concept i created. and basically it's a reminder that i'm not doing it. >> every time you look in the mirror you read it? >> only when i'm shirtless. then, oh, got to get this done. it's so stupid. i hate it now. that's something that no one has seen. this is an exclusive, katie couric. >> reporter: his biggest influences, three men you might have heard of. >> kanye west, barack obama, dave chappelle. all three of those people are men who i would consider fearless and compassionate. what's awesome is that now that i'm in this part of my life,
i've met all of them and know them all really well. >> reporter: when it comes to president obama, the rapper has no intention of following in his footsteps. would you ever consider going into politics? >> no. i don't like politics. i think politics is the reason why a lot of stuff doesn't get done. but yeah, i think i'll always try and be engaged in what's going on in the city. ♪ it seems like blessings >> reporter: for now the young artist from the south side of chicago is counting his blessings, including his legions of fans who can't wait to see what he'll do next. for "nightline," i'm katie couric in chicago. >> you can check out katie's full interview with chance the rapper at yahoo.com. next, rihanna celebrated by. why she's been named their humanitarian of the year.
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finally tonight, last year she won a music video award. this year she did one better. ♪ work work work work work >> rihanna is known for this body of work. but it's her charitable work earning an ivy league honor today. >> so i made it to harvard. >> this afternoon the philanthropic pop star accepted harvard university's humanitarian of the year award. >> my grandmother always used to say, if you've got a dollar, there's plenty to share. >> share she has. naming the foundation after her grandparents to help caribbean students attending college in the u.s. using her star power to promote education on a recent trip to malawi. and in her native barbados getting tested for hiv with prince harry to encourage people to take care of their health. >> all you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return.
to me, that is a humanitarian. >> empowering words to help each other shine bright. ♪ shine bright ♪ beautiful like diamonds in the sky ♪ >> good for her. it was fellow artist ricky martin who said, i'm convinced that music, like philanthropy, bridges hope. thank you for watching abc news. as always we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america.