For his final birthday as President of the United States, Barack Obama is bringing hip-hop to the oval office one more time.
According to a report by Page Six, Obama’s 55th birthday party will include Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Usher as special guests. Other reported guests for the secret party include Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and Anna Wintour.
The Obamas, who have been eager to work with artists in a variety ways over the past seven plus years, have always been proud of their affiliation to hip-hop. In recent months, Barack welcomed J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, Pusha T and J. Cole to discuss his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. He has also invited the likes of Wale, Kendrick Lamar and Common to perform, and he recorded a freestyle video with Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda.
Michelle Obama has done the same, working with Wale for a college youth initiative and recording a viral video with Missy Elliott. Barack also said that Kendrick’s “How Much A Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. Cherish that sentence.
As the first black President of the United States, Obama has naturally been both criticized and adored for his work in office. But there’s still something undeniably cool and validating about bringing hip-hop to a monument like The White House and an institution like the U.S. presidency.
This isn't just a sign of how hip-hop has “made it,” but how universal and all-encompassing hip-hop can be. Hip-hop was started as an art form that provided a voice to the voiceless - and moments like this show that hip-hop is just as much a staple of American culture as anything else.
By William E. Ketchum III, on Twitter at @WEKetchum
Photo Credit: Instagram