As President Obama is heard scolding Republicans on a near daily basis for forcing a sequester that is shutting down government and halting funding for things like White House tours, he and First Wife Michelle geared up Tuesday for a star-studded, soul music concert in the White House that featured such stars as Justin Timberlake, Queen Latifah, and the Reverend Al Green.
Only a few days before the big April 9 gala concert, President Obama was still warning of the evils of sequestration, but the purported “severe” cutbacks of government spending didn’t stop the President from enjoying a night of stirring soul music during the program titled, In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul.
The First Lady kicked off the April 9 tribute to Soul with an hour-long, morning program held in the White House State Dining Room and billed as a “guidance” on the upcoming Memphis Soul performance at the White House. The event was held for students and music lovers and featured soul greats Sam Moore, Mavis Staples, Charlie Musselwhite, Ben Harper and also featuring pop star Justin Timberlake as panel members taking questions from the audience.
Michelle Obama opened the morning’s introductory program by discussing the importance of music in America today and urged the kids in the audience to be sure and practice their music hard.
“The only way for you to become the best musician you can be is to keep pushing through those moments when something doesn’t seem fun by spending hours in the practice room repeating those scales and drilling into that theory. And if you do all that…. you might become a better performer than you ever imagined,” she said.
The First Lady went on to note that even if one doesn’t become a musician for a career choice all that effort is still a worthy exercise.
“When I was young I played the piano, now as I try to remind my kids I regret the fact that I didn’t keep it up. I try to tell them that every single day,” she claimed.
As Michelle wrapped up her introduction of the event, contrary to her husband’s “you didn’t build that” message, Michelle Obama had a a few words about hard work. “I want you all to remember that nothing happens without hard work,” Obama said to the room full of kids and music lovers as she urged them to be the leaders of the next generation.
The full concert was recorded later that evening and included performances by Alabama Shakes, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.
Many performances were enjoyed by the First Couple, but during American Idol finalist Joshua Ledet’s rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman,” the camera operator slowly zoomed in on the Obamas seated in the front row perhaps hoping for a lovey dovey moment between the First Couple. None came, however, as the pair simply observed the performance without demonstrative indulgences.
Then, during the night’s finale, the artists tried to get President Obama to join in the singing on stage. The President sensibly turned the offer down avoiding another Oscar-like moment when the First Lady interjected herself into the movie awards show in an act of “FLOTUS interruptus.”
Despite declining to sing, Barack and Michelle stayed on the stage during the finale, shaking hands, dancing, and clapping. as if they were part of the show.
The concert was recorded for television and In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul will be broadcast Tuesday, April 16 at 8 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide.
Meanwhile, as the President screams that Republicans are “shutting down government” due to their “wild-eyed cost cutting,” and the President enjoys the likely million-dollar concert in the White House, his administration has also authorized over $700,000 for “gardening” at the house of the Ambassador to NATO.
Yeah. Washington is starving for money.