Soul-singers spanning generations wowed the White House on Thursday as Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge and more joined First Lady Michelle Obama for a special student workshop called “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” followed by the “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” concert.
The morning workshop hosted over 120 high school and college students, giving the participates an overview of the origins of soul music, informing them of important artists, and discussing the social climate of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s as it pertains to women’s rights. During her speech Michelle Obama called soul “the kind of music that makes you move, no matter who you are or where you come from.”
Held in the State Dining Room, the three singers had plenty of stories and advice to share with the students. LaBelle sang an impromptu a cappella version of the “The Lord’s Prayer,” Etheridge seated herself at the piano and sang “Stormy Weather,” while Monae performed the song “Victory,” off her new album The Electric Lady, which she said she imagined being sung in church.
Later in the evening the three ladies were joined by Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, Ariana Grande and Tessanne Chin for the “Women of Soul” concert, which was live streamed at WhiteHouse.gov/live on Thursday night, and will be broadcast April 7 at 9pm on PBS.
Check out the photos and video below: