*The latest installment of the PBS series “In Performance at the White House” recruited Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding and others to celebrate the history of American music.
President and Mrs. Obama hosted the October 14 all-star music tribute in the East Room of the White House. PBS will air the concert, dubbed “A Celebration of American Creativity,” on Jan. 8.
The song selections will draw from American-originated musical genres, including hip-hop, blues, and the American songbook. The event will mark the first hip-hop performance in the “In Performance at the White House” series.
Spalding, who also trained student musicians at a White House workshop, said the Obamas believe that “just because you’re not famous, doesn’t mean you’re not important. Everybody that is committed to their art is an important part of American music, of music globally.”
Dalton Delan, an executive producer for “In Performance at the White House,” said WETA, the PBS station that serves the Washington, D.C., area and produces the series, largely selects artists based on the show’s theme, but with administration approval.
“Sure, I can suggest a show, but the administration has to feel like coming and attending the show,” Delan said.
He also consulted with White House social secretary Deesha Dyer on the best hip-hop artists and she suggested female rap pioneer MC Lyte.