"We're here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty but also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to sear us on when we start to lose hope. To lift us up out of our daily existence, even if it's just for a few moments."
Both the President and First Lady have a wide range of music tastes. It has been said that artists like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Earth, Wind, & Fire and even mainstream Rap artists like Lil Wayne and Nas can be found on Barack's iPod while Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher, Robin Thicke, Sara Bareilles, Herbie Hancock, and Anthony David can be found on Michelle's. Their love for music doesn't stop on their iPods as it has also been reflected in the musical guests they have invited over the years to The White House for several events.
Last month, by the request of the Obamas, Janelle Monae performed during a state dinner to honor South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Surprisingly, The Obamas are huge Monae fans and even requested her to perform their favorite song Tightrope.
Others that performed during state dinners were Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and Beyonce are also others that have been asked to perform for state dinner.
Evening of Poetry, Music and Spoken Word Events
In 2009, Grammy-award winning artist Esperanza Spalding performed for the second time at The White House for "An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word"
Also, click here to view her first White House performance earlier that year during a tribute for Stevie Wonder.
For another poetry event, Michelle invited conscious rapper Common who recited some lines amidst piano accompaniment in front of an audience of children and adults. View his performance here. Obama states "...a great poem is one that resonates with us and challenges us and teaches us something about ourselves." Remember the controversy this caused when people like Sarah Palin classified him as a "gangsta rapper" and didn't think his attendance was appropriate?
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