Janelle Monae Has A Secret Video Of Barack Obama Dancing.


From Time Magazine:


Janelle Monae Has a Secret Video of Barack Obama Dancing


Janelle Monae


By Zeke J Miller


“She can blackmail me at any time,” Obama says

If R&B artist Janelle Monaescores a Cabinet post before President Barack Obama leaves office, we’ll know why.

Obama’s three-day West-coast fundraising tour for Democratic candidates took him to the Los Angeles home of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes Wednesday, where he hobnobbed with the likes of Monae and Kerry Washington.


At the 450-person fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee — to which tickets started at $1,000 a head — Obama revealed that Monae was in possession of a top secret video of presidential dancing.


“Janelle has performed at the White House, like, 15 times,” Obama told the audience. “There’s going to be an official Janelle Monae room in the White House. We love her. Michelle and I love Janelle. We love her energy. We love her talent. But we most of all love her character. And anybody who gets a chance to talk to her, this is just a remarkable, strong, smart young lady.


“And I have to say nice things about her because she may be the only person in possession of a video in which I try to keep up with her and Usher on the dance floor,” Obama continued. “Now, this is top secret. She has promised that this will never be released. But she can blackmail me at any time.”

Monae called out “I love you!” to the Commander-in-Chief, to which he replied with his trademark “I love you back,” adding, “You do have that video, though, don’t you?”

Monae said she did, prompting the president to ask her to “testify” to his skills. “Now, tell the truth, though, Janelle — I wasn’t bad, though, was I? I’m just saying. Go ahead, testify just a little bit…Let me say I did not drop in splits. But I did bust a move. That I did do.”

Obama then recognized Washington, one of the earliest celebrities to back his 2008 candidacy, for being on his side when many Americans couldn’t pronounce his name correctly. “She pushed when the wagon was stuck in the mud — she was out there,” Obama said. “And she’s just been a great friend. Plus she showed me her baby pictures, and that is one cute baby.”

The West Coast swing has proven to be a controversial one for Obama, both for its timing amid multiple foreign policy crises and the secrecy surrounding fundraising events for two Democratic super PACs. White House officials defended Obama’s decision to continue with the trip despite the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the ongoing conflict in Gaza, saying that the president’s ability to manage the situations would not be impaired by keeping his schedule. While on the trip, Obama called Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday to discuss efforts to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The White House did not make public the list of attendees at the two super PAC fundraisers, one each House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, or what they had contributed to gain access to the president. Reporters were not allowed to attend either session. “Without a doubt, I think we’ve done more to achieve the President’s commitment to transparency than any other previous administration,” said White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.

Obama returns to Washington late Thursday after another fundraiser for the DNC and delivering a speech on the economy.

Thank you Time Magazine.







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The President And The First Lady At The Kids State Dinner.








First Lady Michelle Obama & her husband, hosts the “Kids State Dinner” in the East Room of the White House. The White House treated more than 50 kid chefs to a “state dinner.” The children earned a seat at the table by whipping up mouth-watering yet healthy meals as part of a nationwide contest sponsored by the food magazine Epicurious and the Education and Agriculture departments

First Lady Michelle Obama & her husband, hosts the “Kids State Dinner” in the East Room of the White House. The White House treated more than 50 kid chefs to a “state dinner.” The children earned a seat at the table by whipping up mouth-watering yet healthy meals as part of a nationwide contest sponsored by the food magazine Epicurious and the Education and Agriculture departments


Remarks by the President and the First Lady at the Kids State Dinner




The President and First Lady at the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner


Published on Jul 18, 2014

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver remarks at the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.




East Room

12:17 P.M. EDT


MRS. OBAMA:  Okay, Braeden.  (Laughter.)  All right, it’s going to be hard.  All right, mister, you’re not supposed to make the First Lady cry.  (Laughter.)


Thanks so much.  You guys, let’s give Braeden a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Well done, young man.  Well done.  And thank you so much, Christy.  Thank you.


Okay, this is cool, right?  You guys having a good time?




MRS. OBAMA:  Yes?  Has it been exciting from beginning to end?




MRS. OBAMA:  What’s been the best part so far?




MRS. OBAMA:  This?  All right, I didn’t cue them on that one.  (Laughter.)  That was a natural response.




Well, I am just delighted to have you guys.  You guys look amazing.  You have dressed so appropriately for the event.  Doesn’t the room look beautiful?  They do such a great job.  And all this stuff was picked out especially for you guys.  It is really an honor to be here.


And I want to start by thanking Tanya and all the folks from Epicurious, the entire team, for, year after year, making this event possible.  It is truly the highlight of our lives, and I know that everyone involved really, really gets inspired from this event.


And I’m also thrilled about the new Kids and Chefs Cook for Success program that you guys are launching.  And with this effort, you guys are going to take this whole thing to another level.  So I love the fact that, Epicurious, you’re finding ways to step this up every single year.  So thank you, guys, and a big round of applause.  (Applause.)


And, of course, to our Delta Airlines team for flying everybody here.  Oh, let’s all go!  Yay!  (Applause.)


How many people was it your first trip on an airplane?  Or is everybody old flying pros?  You’ve been flown before, huh?  You haven’t flown before?  Well, that’s awesome.  So did Delta Airlines treat you well?


AUDIENCE:  Yes.  (Applause.)


MRS. OBAMA:  All right, there you go.  Bob was a little nervous on that question.  (Laughter.)


And I want to join Tanya in also thanking all of the family members, the parents, the moms, the dads.  I know we have an aunt or two here, as well.  Thank you all so much for supporting your kids in this passion, and for cooking with them and for putting up with those endless messes in the kitchen.  Who’s a messy cook here?  (Laughter.)  Me, too.  Me, too.  (Laughter.)


But I hope you all know that their success is because of your love and your constant encouragement for their creativity.  So we’re just so grateful to all of you grownups who are here with us today, and I hope you’re having a good time, too.


But, of course, most of all, I want to recognize our guest of honor, our 54 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners!  (Applause.)  Congratulations.  (Applause.)  Yes, whoop it up.  Party in the White House.  It’s exciting.  I am so proud of you. The President is so proud of you.  Oh, look at the room out there.  I missed the balloons.  (Laughter.)  We have been working so hard to make this event special for you.




But these kids have been selected.  There were more than 1,500 kids that submitted their recipes for this year’s challenge, and it was not easy to choose just one winner from each state, so this was a competitive experience.  You had to claw your way to the finish line.  (Laughter.)  I hope you didn’t push and shove anyone on the way up to the top.  But you made it. But you’re all here because a panel of distinguished judges agreed that your recipes were the very best.


And I want to thank all the judges.  Sam was one of those judges.  (Applause.)  There’s a lot of eating.  Did you taste all 1,500 recipes?


MR. KASS:  110 dishes.


MRS. OBAMA:  110 dishes.


MR. KASS:  That’s a lot.


MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you, Sam.  (Laughter.)  Well done.


But yours were the most nutritious and the most delicious, all right?  So healthy and good, too, right?  And you guys took very different paths to get here.  Some of you started cooking as a way to bond with your families — and that was true for Genene Wedd.  Hey, Genene, how are you?  From California.  He said, “I love cooking with my mom.  It is fun spending time with her and talking about my day.”


And for some of you, cooking is how you celebrate your culture or other cultures you’re interested in.  Lucy Hickerson  — where’s Lucy?  I know I saw Lucy.  Where are you, Lucy?  Lucy is from Kentucky, and she made a pocket with sweet potatoes and kale.  And she describes her dish as a combination of an Indian samosa, a Spanish empanada and an Asian spring roll.  And what Lucy says, “It’s like going around the world in one bite.”  (Laughter.)


And some of you like to cook because you’re good at it and hope to make it a career.  That’s why Hannah Foley from Pennsylvania right here -– as she said — she said, “I love to cook and hope to one day be a chef with my own show on the Food Network.”  (Laughter.)  Wait, she’s got a title.  (Laughter.)  It’s called, “H to the F to the Hannah Foley Chef.”   (Laughter.) Yes, that’s been in my head for many days.  (Laughter.)  That’s why I knew it.  H to the F — okay.


But no matter how you got to the White House today, you’re all here for one simple reason.  And I think Adrianna Nelson from West Virginia — Adrianna, where are you?  Hi, you.  This is what she said.  She said, “I love to create healthy recipes because I feel great when I eat healthy.”  That’s why you’re here.  Like Adrianna, you all know that what you eat affects how you feel, and how much energy you have, and how well you do at school.




And that’s really why I started Let’s Move.  I did it because I care deeply about the kids in this country.  I really do.  Not just as First Lady, but I’m a mom, I’ve got two kids.  I love them, and I love you all just as much.  So it’s important for me to make sure that the things I do for my girls are the same things that every kid in this country has access to.


And that’s why we’ve been working so hard to help families cook healthy meals at home, and to get more grocery stores into our communities, and to get companies to market healthier foods to kids.


And most of all, that’s why we’ve been fighting so hard for our new healthy school lunches.  And I have to tell you, and I said this to some of you in the photo line that you all are my inspiration.  Kids like you really do inspire me.  You all represent 54 reasons why we know that we can do so much better by our kids when it comes to eating healthy because the truth is, is that if 8-, 9- and 10-year-old kids can cook and happily eat a healthy, tasty meal, then there is absolutely no reason why we can’t get nutritious food into every school in this country that kids will actually enjoy.  You guys remind me of that every single day.


Now, I know that some of you might have friends who want to bring back the junk food in the schools, right?  Because there’s always those kids.  They’re like, give me my junk food back.  (Laughter.)  And I know that in recent months, we’ve even seen grownups, including folks in Congress, trying to undo some of the progress that we’ve made to get healthier food into our schools. And while the vast majority of the schools are doing just fine with these new standards, those few complaining voices happen to be the loudest voices and they’re getting the most attention right now.


So here’s what I’m going to ask you to do for this year.  I need you guys to make your voices heard, too.  It’s important.  And don’t be shy.  I want you to speak up, talk to your classmates and your teachers.  Share with them what you’ve learned about healthy eating and cooking, about how to craft interesting things.  Like, Braeden, you might even get your school to test your recipe in the lunchroom for other kids.  Teach them what you know about healthy eating.


And also, to the parents, parents play a really important role in what happens on the ground.  And in many instances, parents are way more powerful than people like us in the White House.  So I urge you guys to speak up as well, and to continue speaking up.  Go to those PTA meetings and those school board meetings and tell them what you know and what you’re learning, to make sure that they’re listening to all the voices on this issue.


There’s a lot of money involved in feeding our kids at school.  We are currently spending $10 billion a year — did you hear that, $10 billion a year — on our school lunch programs.  So it’s not surprising that there are certain interests that are resisting change and trying to take us back to the old ways of doing business, because for them there’s a lot of money is on the line.  But you all have a right to expect that your hard-earned tax dollars will be spent on food that meets basic nutrition standards.


It’s as simple as that.  Because when you are working so hard to prepare nutritious foods at home, I know that you don’t want all that work undone when you send your kids off to school and they’re eating in the lunchroom.  So we can’t afford to stay silent on this issue, because if we do we’re going to wind up right back where we started.  And that’s not acceptable.  Because I know that everyone in this room, at least, and many people around the country know that the food our kids are eating today will affect their health for decades.  We are laying an imprint on our kids with everything they put into their bodies today.  We know so much more about how nutrition and exercise impacts our children’s ability to focus and succeed both in school and in life.


And that’s why you guys, as parents, are so passionately supporting your kids on this issue — you know that this is real, this isn’t a joke.  So what I don’t want to have happen is that 20 years from now I don’t want us to be looking back and saying to ourselves, man, we were almost there, we were right on the brink of transforming our kids’ health, but then things got tough and expensive, and then we didn’t stand up and we didn’t speak up, and we gave up too soon.




Our kids deserve better than that.  And they don’t know, but we know — we know better.  All of you kids, like kids across this country, deserve everything that we adults can muster up for you.  I have to tell my kids that every day — I still know more than they do.  (Laughter.)  So when we know better, we have to do better for you.


So I hope that you all will serve as ambassadors, okay?  And think about, as Braeden did, how you will pay this forward.  And there are many, many ways you’re going to pay it forward.  There’s no one right answer on how you’re going to do it.  But when you get a chance to do something this special and to come to the White House, and have all this press and all these special things going on, I know for me when I think about my advantages, I think, I have to give that back to somebody else.  That is my obligation.  That’s the price I pay for standing here and hanging out.


So I want you to think about what you’re going to do.  I want you to keep talking to other kids about eating healthy.  Help them learn.  Help them try new things.  And you’re going to run into bumps and bruises — I know, Braeden, it must have been hard work starting your new non-profit organization.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy every step of the way, but it was so worth it, right, for the thanks that you get and knowing that you impact the lives of others.


So I know each of you can do that in your own special way. And we’re going to do this again next year, so I hope that one of you will be standing here like Braeden, being able to share all the great things that you’ve done over the course of the year.  I can’t wait to see what you guys accomplish.  You all are pretty amazing young people.


So I think with that, it’s time to eat, don’t you think?  I’m a little hungry.  I just had fruit for breakfast so I’m really ready to try all these dishes.  (Applause.)  You guys, have a great time.  And I will see you after lunch.  Enjoy.  (Applause.)


Wait, wait.  We have a special guest — Braeden knew about this — but another person who likes this event just as much as me, who never gets invited to sit down is the President of the United States.  (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  I am not going to hold up the meal — everybody sit down.  (Laughter.)  I just wanted to come by because I love the event.  First of all, we have a lot of state dinners around here.


MRS. OBAMA:  We do.




THE PRESIDENT:  They’re not always as cheerful and fun as this.  (Laughter.)  First of all, everybody is older and a little stodgier.  But this is a much hipper crowd.  More colorful outfits — so I like that.  But I also just love seeing young people who are doing wonderful things.  We are so proud of you.  To see the kind of leadership you’re taking and the way that you’ve really thrown yourselves into these projects is just really inspiring.


And sometimes people ask me, you know, Mr. President, you have this really tough job and there is always stuff happening all around the world, and how do you keep up with all of it and how do you keep your spirits up?  And my answer is, because I meet young people every day who I know are energetic and are full of great ideas and are going to be continuing to make this country better.  This is one way to do it.  You guys are leaders in your schools and in your communities, and you’re helping to teach folks the importance of good nutrition, the importance of putting good fuel in your bodies so that you’re living healthy, active lives.


And by the way, one thing — maybe I shouldn’t say this, but it’s not like our family — including me — don’t have some snacks once in a while — (laughter) — that may not be on the perfect nutrition chart.


MRS. OBAMA:  It’s true.  (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT:  Each of us have our weaknesses, so I’m going to reveal some right now.  Malia, ice cream.  I mean, basically, it’s very hard for her to turn down ice cream.  But she has learned to kind of control herself when it comes to ice cream.


MRS. OBAMA:  It’s hard.


THE PRESIDENT:  It’s hard, but she still has fun when she does have ice cream.  In fact, the fact that she doesn’t have ice cream every day means when she has it –


MRS. OBAMA:  It’s very special.




THE PRESIDENT: — it’s like, hallelujah.  She starts — she is so happy.  (Laughter.)  Sasha — what would you say is Sasha’s pig-out indulgence food?


MRS. OBAMA:  She likes sushi.


THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, no.  (Laughter.)


MRS. OBAMA:  It’s what she’s into.


THE PRESIDENT:  She is kind of into sushi right now.  She’s a little — I love sushi, so maybe I had some influence there.  But let’s say — her pies.  She pretty much takes dessert whenever she can.



THE PRESIDENT:  Pie.  She’s like me.  My big thing — chips and guacamole.  (Laughter.)  Basically, if there is a bowl of good chips and guacamole –


MRS. OBAMA:  He loses it.


THE PRESIDENT:  — I lose my mind.  (Laughter.)  I lose my mind.  And the First Lady — French fries.  (Laughter.)


MRS. OBAMA:  But I’m going to say this.  I’m making a vow — I’m going to take a break from French fries.








THE PRESIDENT:  Wow, that’s big.  (Laughter and applause.)


Now, the reason I make this point is that the question is not can you never have anything — it’s, on a day-to-day basis, at lunches, at breakfast, at dinner, is your basic nutrition something that’s going to make you strong and make you healthy?  And if it is, then having fun food that may not be perfect for you, that’s okay, too.


But we’re just all trying to develop good habits.  And the one thing I know about all these young people is they’ve got great work habits, because, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to do everything that they’ve done.  They’ve got great habits of caring about other people, because they’re out there spreading the word about what they’re doing.  And as a consequence, I’m really optimistic about what all these great young leaders are going to achieve in the future.


First Lady Michelle Obama hugs last year’s winner from Delaware, Braeden Mannering

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs last year’s winner from Delaware, Braeden Mannering


So good luck.  Have a great Kids State Dinner — even though it’s technically lunch.  (Laughter.)  Calling it a state lunch — there was a debate about this and we thought –


MRS. OBAMA:  It doesn’t work.


THE PRESIDENT:  — it doesn’t make sense, because we have state dinners.  So it’s a Kids State Dinner, even though it’s noon.


And parents, good job, everybody.  You’ve got great kids.  (Applause.)


12:35 P.M. EDT





Live from the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner







Tune In: Watch the Kids’ State Dinner Live!



This morning at 11:25 a.m. ET, we’ll be streaming the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner live from the White House.


And you can watch it all right here.


More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year, featuring wholesome and tasty ingredients such as squash, ground turkey, salmon, and kale. Watch the winning recipes being selected for the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner below — and tune in to the Kids’ State Dinner live today at 11:25 a.m. ET.







Variety: Michelle Obama Calls For Focus On The Arts In Grammy Museum Speech.










Michelle Obama Calls for Focus on the Arts in Grammy Museum Speech


By , Variety Magazine.


First lady Michelle Obama appeared in Los Angeles before a crowd of music professionals, educators and students on Wednesday, as she called for greater recognition of the value of arts education.


“We cannot be satisfied until every child in America has some exposure to the arts,” Obama said at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.


Obama’s address was part of the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon, named in honor of the late public school teacher Jane Ortner, who promoted music education.


Obama said that some 6 million school children have no music or arts classes in their schools, a problem exacerbated by cuts in public education.


She said that for many young people, “the arts are a way to channel that pain and frustration into something meaningful and productive and beautiful.”


“For many young people and arts education is the only reason they get out of bed in the morning,” she said, her voice often passionate as she delivered her remarks.


She also called on arts organizations across the country to adopt programs that include activities for students, as the Grammy Museum does. The museum participates in an educational component of the White House’s concert series, which airs on PBS as “In Performance at the White House.”


The honorees at the event were educator Sunshine Cavalluzzi and singer Janelle Monae, who performed “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Tightrope.” The award honors educators and artists who are dedicated to education through the arts.


Introducing Monae, Obama said, “I love to hear her perform, and yes, she was on a table, in the White House, and that’s our little secret.” She praised Monae as “one of the young artists here who is making music that means something. … She serves as a role model and an inspiration to so many young people.” The first lady also said she was “honored to be the first Electric Lady.”


“I got my letter in the mail. I framed it. It’s up,” she said.


Ortner’s husband, entertainment attorney Charles, is a board member of the museum, and told the luncheon that a goal is to “enhance the education environment through music, even though these are not music teachers per se.” The music is a way in to match, the sciences and history, with lesson plans posted for free on the Grammy Museum website. Joining him were his children, Eric and Amy.


The first lady’s visit to Los Angeles included a speech at the Unite for Veterans Summit, organized by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Federal Reserve Bank and USC. On Tuesday, she appeared at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the home of HBO’s Michael Lombardo and architect Sonny Ward.


First Lady Michelle Obama, right, hugs six-time Grammy nominee singer Janelle Monae at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. The first lady says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama, right, hugs six-time Grammy nominee singer Janelle Monae at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. The first lady says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. Obama says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon in Los Angeles Wednesday, July, 16, 2014. Obama says every arts organization in the country should embrace the mission of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, which focuses on education.

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Thank you Variety Magazine.




Remarks by the First Lady at Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon

Grammy Museum
Los Angeles, California

12:32 P.M. PDT




MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, hello, everyone!  How are you guys doing?




MRS. OBAMA:  It’s really exciting, huh?




MRS. OBAMA:  Well, it is a pleasure for me to be here for the inaugural Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon.  I want to start by thanking Bob for that very kind introduction and for his visionary leadership of the Grammy Museum, and for sharing that story.  And in response, yes, we did hear.  (Laughter.)  We heard everything.  We can hear everything that goes on on the State floor upstairs.  But as Bob noted, it was a beautiful sound.  It was the sound of growth and victory and happiness, and it filled the White House just as Barack and I had imagined.  So we were grateful for that night and so many, many wonderful nights shared with this organization.


I want to thank Chuck Ortner and his family for their tremendous generosity in making this luncheon possible.  Yes.  (Applause.)  And I want to give a special thank-you to your fabulous mayor, Mayor Garcetti.  We’re just thrilled that he could join us today, and we are grateful for his leadership.  (Applause.)


And I’d like to thank and congratulate today’s honorees — my dear, dear friend, Janelle Monae, as well as Sunshine Cavalluzzi, who I will get to meet.  (Applause.)  Sunshine — I’m going to see Sunshine soon.  We are so inspired by the both of you and so grateful for everything you do for our children.


And of course, I want to thank everyone here today for your support to bring arts education to young people across this country.  Your work has been at the heart of our vision for the White House right from the very beginning, as Bob shared.


Now, traditionally, when it comes to hosting cultural events, the White House has always brought in the most renowned performers in the world.  And in the past, the audiences for these performances were usually a lot of pretty fancy people — politicians, business leaders, celebrities — the kind of folks who get invited to the White House all the time.


But when Barack and I first came to Washington, we decided that it was time to shake things up a little bit.  We wanted to do everything we could to make the White House the “People’s House.”  We wanted to open it up to as many people in this country as possible, especially our young people.  So when we started inviting performers to the White House, as Bob mentioned, we told everyone that we also expected them to spend some time with young people, doing workshops and these wonderful mentoring sessions.


And that’s where all of you came in.  Thanks to your generosity, the Grammy Museum has flown nearly 1,000 students to Washington to visit the White House and take part in these programs, and thousands more have participated by video.  These young people have had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They’ve explored soul music with Janelle Monae, Melissa Etheridge, Patti LaBelle — that was good.  (Laughter.)  They’ve learned about country music with Lyle Lovett, Darius Rucker, Kris Kristofferson.  As you heard, they talked about Motown with Smokey Robinson and John Legend.  I could go on and on.  These sessions are amazing.


And I have to tell you, these are some of my favorite events at the White House.  They’re these truly intimate moments when the artists and the kids are sitting around in the State Dining Room.  Very special.  I make sure they know they’re sitting where we host kings and queens and leaders from all over the world.  And in that room, they’re pouring their hearts out to each other.  They get really close.  They’re not just talking about music — they’re talking about their hopes and dreams and their fears.  They’re talking about the value of hard work, things like staying true to yourself, picking yourself up when you fall.  That’s one thing I always say to the students — failure is your only guarantee in life.  So you got to figure that out.


And let me tell you, so many of the young people who’ve had these experiences, they walk away transformed — how can you help but not be transformed — with a new sense of purpose and hope.


Just take the example of a young woman named Trina Vargas who attended a workshop — she attended that first workshop on the music of the civil rights, back in 2010, that Bob talked about.  Now, Trina was raised by a single mother, much like many of the artists who perform and we have known and love.  She’s from Guatemala.  Her mother never had a chance to go to college herself.  And while Trina worked hard in school, she wasn’t always sure that hard work would really pay off.


But her trip to the White House opened her eyes, and as she put it — and these are just a few of her words — she said, “I saw for the first time how education and hard work could open doors I never dreamed possible.”  And she said, even though it isn’t easy to — and “it’s easy to feel discouraged at times,” she said, “I won’t stop chasing my dreams.”


Well today, four years later, Trina has graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Albany, and she’s now working her way towards law school.  (Applause.)  And I’m sure I could share hundreds of stories just like that.


So make no mistake about it, programs like this aren’t just about taking a fun field trip to Washington, and they shouldn’t just be luxuries for kids who can afford it.  Because we know that engagement in the arts can unlock a world of possibilities for our young people, especially when it comes to their education.


Studies show that kids who are involved in the arts have higher grades, higher graduation rates, higher college enrollment rates.  And when you think about it, that’s not really surprising.  Because for many young people, arts education is the only reason they get out of bed in the morning.  Just like Janelle, they go to school each day because there’s an instrument they want to play, a musical they want to perform in, a painting they are dying to finish.  See, and then once they arrive in those classrooms, that’s when we can teach them something else, like math and writing and science.  That is the power of the arts for so many of our young people.


But today, as we honor your work to promote arts education and we recognize leaders like Sunshine and Janelle, we also need to be thinking about all the young people who will never have these opportunities in this country.  We need to be thinking about the six million children in this country who don’t have a single art or music class in their schools.  (Applause.)


So for every Janelle Monae, there are so many young people with so much promise [that] they never have the chance to develop.  And think about how that must feel for a kid to have so much talent, so much that they want to express, but it’s all bottled up inside because no one ever puts a paintbrush or an instrument or a script into their hand.


Think about what that means for our communities, that frustration bottled up.  Think about the neighborhoods where so many of our kids live — neighborhoods torn apart by poverty and violence.  Those kids have no good outlets or opportunities, so for them everything that’s bottled up — all that despair and anger and fear — it comes out in all the wrong places.  It comes out through guns and gangs and drugs, and the cycle just continues.


But the arts are a way to channel that pain and frustration into something meaningful and productive and beautiful.  And every human being needs that, particularly our kids.  And when they don’t have that outlet, that is such a tremendous loss, not just for our kids, but for our nation.  And that’s why the work you all are doing is so important.


But we can’t stop here.  Yes, you all have an abundance of riches here in Los Angeles.  And yes, we do have a pretty big platform at the White House; people do tend to accept our invitations to perform and interact with young people.  We’ve got a little leverage.  But let’s not forget that there are theaters and symphonies and museums in cities and towns all across this country.  And with every exhibit and performance they put on, these folks should be asking themselves, “How can we get some kids in here?  How can we get these artists and performers to connect with young people in those communities?”


In other words, every arts organization in this country should be embracing the mission of the Grammy Museum.  Because we cannot be satisfied until every child in America has some kind of exposure to the arts — every child.  Every child.  (Applause.)


And to all the young people here today, I just want to urge you all to take the fullest advantage of these opportunities when you get them.  Try as many new art forms as you can, and take some risks.  Don’t be afraid to express yourself.  And most importantly, take the lessons you learn through arts and apply them at school, and bring that same passion and dedication to getting the education you need to fulfill your dreams.  And so many of you are already doing that, and I am incredibly proud of you all.


But today, I want to urge you to dream even bigger, work even harder, and don’t ever give up, no matter what challenges you face.  Because if you do that, there is no limit to what you can achieve.  And remember, there are so many people who believe in you.  I believe in you.  Your President believes in you.  And all of these people here today believe in you.


So go out there and make us proud.  And more importantly, make yourselves proud.  Yes.  (Applause.)


And to all of you here today who are doing so much to support these amazing young people, I want to end as I started by once again saying thank you.  Thank you for your commitment to their future, to our country’s future.  And I do look forward to continuing our work together in the months and years ahead.


Thank you all so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.


I have one more wonderful task here today.  You know that little fireplug of a woman that just stood here today?  Well, I’m going to introduce her, because she’s going to come out here and do her thing.


But let me just say something about this young, beautiful, talented woman.  First of all, I am honored to be the first Electric Lady.  (Laughter.)  I got my letter in the mail — I framed it; it’s up.  But when you listen to Janelle, when you hear her speak — I love to hear her perform.  And yes, she was on a table in the White House.  And that’s our little secret.  (Laughter.)  But I love to hear her perform, but I love to hear her talk.  I love Janelle’s message.


I love that she is one of the young artists here who is making music that means something.  She has a message.  She has a voice.  She has a power in her.  And she understands the responsibility she has within her grasp to take these opportunities and just take off with them.  She serves as a role model and an inspiration to so many young people.  And I am happy to call her my friend.  I am so proud of her.


It is my pleasure to introduce the one, the only — Janelle Monae.  (Applause.)


12:46 P.M. PDT






Let’s Move! The Countdown To The Kids’ State Dinner Begins!









farm lets move


The Countdown to the Kids’ State Dinner Begins!


We can hardly believe it’s almost here — the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner is this Friday, July 18, and we are officially counting down the days! Be sure to stay tuned each day for updates about the event, and tune in here to catch all the action on Friday.


The Kids’ State Dinner winners will be coming to the White House from all 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia to join the First Lady for lunch featuring a selection of the winning recipes along with a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden.


Go behind the scenes and see how this year’s winning recipes were selected:


Judging of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge


Published on Jul 14, 2014

Go behind the scenes of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge judging, as decisions are made for spots in the third Kids State Dinner at the White House.




The lucky judges tasted 112 delicious dishes cooked up by DC Central Kitchen (originally created by these young budding chefs themselves) to help make the selections. The winning recipes were picked based on USDA’s MyPlate recommendations and based on the challenge criteria of being healthy, original, tasty, and affordable.


We can’t wait to showcase the talented young chefs and their winning dishes on Friday and hope you’ll tune in to join the fun!




First Lady Michelle Obama Graces The Cover Of ESSENCE’s August Issue.

By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro.

By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro.










From  Essence Magazine:


First Lady Michelle Obama Graces The Cover Of ESSENCE’s August Issue.


First Lady Michelle Obama has always been vocal about her passion for higher learning, and this month she expounds on that in her candid conversation with ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. Bush. A big part of the recipe for success has to do with nurturing reslience in our children, she says.


“I know I tell my kids all the time that they shouldn’t shy away from difficult things, because that is the point at which you are really growing. It’s not just about grades or test scores. Today our kids may shy away from applying to college if they think they don’t have the right grade or test score. But the truth is that the kids who succeed and go on to be successful professionals are the ones who know how to work hard,” says Mrs. Obama.


And in order to even get that far, she says, they have to see education as an opportunity and take advantage of that kind of foundation.


“We cannot waste the opportunity that we have here in America, especially as African-Americans. Our ancestors fought and bled and died so that we could go to school,” she says. “And I still think about that.”


It’s a message she’s drilled into her daughters. “We talk about responsibility and accountability, about making sure that they’re not wasting the opportunities they’re given. We make sure they know how lucky they are and that, because of that, they have an obligation to have their acts together and to take their education very seriously.”




Thank you Essence Magazine.








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