feature image via AP
After 200+ years of running the American government via several committees of boring old white guys, the Obama administration has finally figured out how to govern this country in a way that makes sense for everybody. On March 6, the White House celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monáe, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Jill Scott, Ariana Grande and Tessanne Chin for a concert intended to celebrate the struggles, achievements and contributions made by women in music. Earlier in the day, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” an interactive workshop for 124 middle school, high school and college students. Participants gathered in the State Dining Room to meet with Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles and several of the performers to discuss the social and political climates of America that led to the advent of soul music, and its impact on the world. Michelle Obama described soul as “the kind of music that makes you move, no matter who you are or where you come from.”
Describing the inspiring works of Patti LaBelle, the first lady added: “Find your own voice and be proud of it. And then, sing your butt off. Or work your butt off. Or whatever you do, do it until your butt comes off. OK, that quote is going to be kind of funny in the papers. I already know it. My communications people are like, what?! But you guys all know what I meant – be good at what you do.”
As for the performance itself, President Obama was pretty excited about it, possibly so excited that he forgot how to spell “respect.”
The concert began with Patti LaBelle performing “Over the Rainbow,” and climaxed with Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monáe, Jill Scott and Tessanne Chin coming together for a gorgeous, triumphant rendition of “Proud Mary.”
For those of us who were not invited, the Women of Soul concert will be screened on PBS on Monday, April 7 at 7PM (check your local listings).