Obama and his wife, Michelle, began the annual event eight years ago to celebrate music that has helped shape America.
One of President Barack Obama‘s favorite traditions at the White House, a musical night event, ended Friday evening.
Obama and his wife Michelle began the annual event eight years ago to celebrate music that has helped shape America.
Concerts highlighting classic, country, blues, Broadway, gospel, Motown and Latin have been celebrated at the White House, and on Friday the Obama’s kicked off their final musical event, BET’s “Love and Happiness” in a tent on the White House’s South Lawn, according to the Associated Press.
In opening remarks, the 55-year-old reflected on past performances at the White House during his tenure, recalling amazing performances by legendary musicians.
“We’ve had Bob Dylan and we’ve had Jennifer Hudson. Gloria Estefan and Los Lobos. Aretha, Patti, Smokey,” Obama said.. “I’ve had Paul McCartney singing ‘Michelle’ to Michelle and Stevie singing ‘Happy Birthday.'”
“We’ve had Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger getting me to sing ‘Sweet Home Chicago,'” he continued. “So this has been one of our favorite traditions, and it’s with a little bit of bittersweetness that this is our final musical evening as president and first lady.”
The president has had a long history of inviting popular celebrities to the White House and said that it was “one of the perks of the job” that he’d miss, including Air Force One and Marine One, the presidential helicopter.
He spoke of the previous musical history of the White House, recalling guests of President John F. Kennedy who did the “twist” in the East Room, “which may not sound like a big deal to you, but that was sort of the twerking of their time,” Obama said.
“There will be no twerking tonight,” he joked. “At least not by me. I don’t know about Usher.”
Before stepping down from the stage, Obama said that although the music performed during Friday’s taping of the musical show “is rooted in the African-American experience, it’s not just black music. It’s an essential part of the American experience.”
“It’s a mirror to who we are, and a reminder of who we can be,” he added. “That’s what American music’s all about.”
BET will broadcast the show on Nov. 15.