All Articles Tagged "President Obama"

President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama Confirmed As SXSW Keynotes

March 5th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Michelle Obama talks the benefits of turning 50

Source: WENN

It’s that time of the season y’all: music festival season, that is.

And South By Southwest (SXSW) just gave all other festivals a run for their money when they announced who would be keynote speakers for their annual conferences. Drum roll, please! This year’s speakers will be none other than President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The exciting news was revealed on Wednesday (Mar. 2), when the SXSW site announced that Barack will “appear as part of a Keynote Conversation at SXSW Interactive” on Friday, March 11, and Michelle will take center stage as the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday, March 16.

President Obama is set to sit with Evan Smith, CEO/ Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, for “a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives.”

The First Lady will discuss her amazing Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to educate young girls (approx. 62 million) to have the opportunity to attend school, in an effort to celebrate Women’s History Month.

I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and First Lady to SXSW,” said Co-founder Roland Swenson. “As each new generation comes up at SXSW they look for ways they can be of service, and it’s important to reflect and support the message. President and Mrs. Obama’s visit here will inspire attendees to that purpose.”

Say It Loud! Stars Celebrating Blackness

February 22nd, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

This month may have the honor of being the blackest Black History Month in the history of the holiday. When Carter G. Woodson first established the precursor for this holiday back in 1926 with Negro History Week, we doubt his wildest dreams could have anticipated what it would look like all these years later.

From Beyoncé to Kendrick Lamar, these celebrities have taken a stand for civil rights, Black history and showed everyone what it means to be Black, proud and powerful. And Black History Month isn’t yet over, so we still have plenty to celebrate.

The following stars risked losing fans and upsetting the censors to bring us these moments during this very special time of year, and we’re glad they did.

Did we miss any of your favorite moments from Black History Month 2016? Let us know how you’ve been celebrating our favorite time of year.

106-Year-Old Virginia McLaurin Dances Her Way Into The White House

February 22nd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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106-year-old virginia mclaurin feat

Source: White House Facebook

President Obama is trending for his interaction with young children. But he’s also pretty popular with the folks on the opposite end of the spectrum. Last week, to celebrate Black History Month, the White House opened its doors to Civil Rights leaders, the King family, young children and more.

106-year-old Virginia McLaurin was among the attendees. When they announced her name she squealed with excitement before bopping up and down. Then, when President Obama asked her if she wanted to meet Mrs. Obama, she moved with much vigor and much excitement.

Grasping both of their hands, McLaurin, a native of South Carolina who moved to D.C. in 1941, told the first couple “I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you, I am so happy to have a Black president…a Black wife.”

That Black wife line tickled me to my core. Because not only is it obvious that Michelle is Black and has been Black, it’s quite a nice image to see in the highest office of the land.

McLaurin, who will turn 107 next month, says she prays daily for her mind to remain sharp so that she won’t become a burden to anyone. God has certainly been answering that prayer.

Check out the brief but inspiring video from her visit below.

The Best Pictures From The #ObamaAndKids Hashtag That Took Over The Internet

February 22nd, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Credit: WENN

Credit: WENN

If you’re wondering where the #ObamaAndKids ‘movement’–where folks are sharing photos of President Obama playing with, sharing special moments and just being his cool self with kids–came from, it all started when White House photographer Pete Souza shared this extraordinary photo of President Obama greeting Clark Reynolds, 3, at an event celebrating Black History month. Then, in recognition of Black History Month, and in celebration of our country’s first Black president, Michael Skolnik—entrepreneur, activist and storyteller—started a simple hashtag #ObamaAndKids.

“I was sitting on my couch, early in the morning, with my soon-to-be three year old son, Mateo Ali, on my lap. We were doing what we do every Saturday morning, watching cartoons, eating bagels and drinking coco verde (coconut water — he speaks Spanish too). As I was flipping through my morning routine on my phone, I came across Pete Souza’s photo of the young boy from the Black History Month celebration. With my son in my arms, I couldn’t help to think about the impact President Obama will have on my son. A young boy, named Mateo Ali Skolnik, whose generation has been forever changed by the presidency of a man named, Barack Hussein Obama. And then I started thinking about all of the other children in this country, and what it means for them. What it means for them to have this president, at this time, leading this country through this incredibly difficult transition. I wish my son understood this, but he was too concerned with his cartoons and getting as much cream cheese as he could on his face.”


These heartwarming pictures tell a story.

They represent progress.

With all of the racial turmoil going on in our country, this youngest generation that grew up with a Black president in office carry with them a different perspective. They are seeing what is and hopefully will be part of the change for better in what could and should be not only in this country, but in this world.

Check out a few of our favorite photos below, and you’ll see why we were captivated by #ObamaAndKids.

Yep, even Michelle Obama shared her favorite:

We can’t get enough, which is your favorite picture of Obama And Kids?

What Happens When You See The First Couple And Say “Heeeeey Michelle!”?

February 19th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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I’ve said this so many times before. We look at Michelle Obama and see a friend, a homegirl. We know and respect the fact that she’s the First Lady of these United States but she’s also Auntie ‘Chelle.

Clearly, based on a recent video from the White House, I’m not the only one who feels like this. One woman, in the presence of the President and First Lady, forgot where she was and hollered out “Heeeeeeey Michelle.”

Realizing that she might have offended Mrs. Obama, the woman apologized.

Watch and see what happens next in the video below.

For those who can’t watch now, Mrs. Obama told the woman it was fine. And President Obama smoothed things over, making a joke out of all of it. “We know it is Black History Month when you hear somebody say, ‘Heyyyy, Michelle! Giiiirrrrrlllll you look so good!”

Man, we’re going to miss them!

This little girl echoes our sentiments.

President Obama Allocates $80M To State Of Michigan To Aid Flint Water Crisis

January 23rd, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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AP Images

AP Images

Over the past week, the city of Flint, Michigan has been making headlines for their water crisis that’s been going on for the past year.

Due to a cost-cutting move by a state-appointment emergency manager, the cities water supply has been contaminated with extreme levels of lead. So basically, anyone that came in contact with tap water in Flint was susceptible to deadly toxins. With steady complaints of the smell, color and taste of the water supply, Michigan Gov. Rick Synder finally called a state of emergency on Jan. 12. The National Guard assisted with destruction of bottled water and water filters, according to USA Today.

However, the people of Flint still need much help from the federal government to overcome.

Yesterday (Jan. 22), President Obama announced that his administration would be providing the state of Michigan with $80 million to aid in the repair of Flint’s contaminated water supply, in addition to the initial $5 million that was allocated. While all the funds given are available immediately, it is unsure just how much money the city of Flint will actually receive, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“Our children should not have to be worried about the water that they’re drinking in American cities,” President Obama said during a U.S. Conference of Mayors event at the White House. “That’s not something that we should accept.

ICYMI: Wale Was The Opening Performance At Obama’s Final State Of The Union

January 16th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Back at the house 🔵🌙

A photo posted by Wale (@wale) on

Tuesday (Jan. 12), was a big night for hip-hop, the White House, and rapper Wale, as the D.C. native made history has the first rapper to open a State of the Union address.

After a warm introduction from Terrence J, Wale took the stage and rocked the crowd at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with an array of his hits including the 2009 Lady Gaga-assisted “Chillin,” The White Shoes, and “LoveHate Thing,” a personal favorite amongst many, including Obama himself who requested he add that to his set list.


A video posted by Wale (@wale) on

“The leader of the free world having a rapper in the White House. God bless him. Hip-hop forever,” Wale said, both humbled and thrilled at the opportunity.

However, this wasn’t his first invitation to the White House, as Wale also teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama in support of her “Reach Higher” initiative with a special performance and speaking to students about higher education and career services. During his historic set, he also revealed that his fifth studio album is titled Shine and will be released this year.

Press play and watch how the historic moment unfolded.

For All the Tough Talk, Why Didn’t Obama Say Black Lives Matter?

January 13th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Why Didn't Obama Say Black Lives Matter intro

Source: AP Images

President Barack Obama did a lot of tough talking during his last State of the Union address before Congress and the American public last night.

When he wasn’t listing off the enemies of the state he had taken out over the last eight years (“If you doubt America’s commitment – or mine – to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden…”) he was bragging about how the nation need not be fearful of ISIS/IL because of American exceptionalism.

More accurately, he said:

I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us.”

U.S.A, U.S.A, U.S.A….

For real though, that was some pretty impressive chest-pounding. And it should be noted that the president had some equally bold words for the xenophobic fear-mongers in the Senate and Congress, whose “over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands.”

Still, for all the tough-talking about foreign policy President Obama did last night, one area in which he failed to speak as boldly was about the terror facing Black people right here in America.

For all intents and purposes, police brutality is a serious domestic issue, which has not only captivated news cycles for a good portion of his second term but has resulted in important political organizing and legislative actions.

Yet, the only time President Obama made mention last night of this important domestic issue was during his pledge to “be right there with you as a citizen” long after his term in office has ended.

More specifically he said of these citizens:

They’re out there, those voices. They don’t get a lot of attention, nor do they seek it, but they are busy doing the work this country needs doing.

I see them everywhere I travel in this incredible country of ours. I see you. I know you’re there. You’re the reason why I have such incredible confidence in our future. Because I see your quiet, sturdy citizenship all the time.

I see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open, and the boss who pays him higher wages to keep him on board.

I see it in the Dreamer who stays up late to finish her science project, and the teacher who comes in early because he knows she might someday cure a disease. I see it in the American who served his time, and dreams of starting over – and the business owner who gives him that second chance. The protester determined to prove that justice matters, and the young cop walking the beat, treating everybody with respect, doing the brave, quiet work of keeping us safe.”

While beautiful stated, it is also a pretty non-committal sentiment.

While all other politicians including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Jeb Bush and even Donald Trump have been more direct in their alliance – or opposition – to those protesting against police violence in America, President Obama has once again chosen distance.

He not only failed to say and endorse Black Lives Matter but he remixed the movement’s signature clarion call into the less potent, “justice matters.”

While it is true that folks want justice, it is also true that in this country, Black people have been denied justice the most. That’s why folks say Black Lives Matter.

And to essentially deviate from the movement’s central messaging to something more palpable, certainly did not embody President Obama’s stated intent to “be right there” with us as a citizen – at least not all of us. If anything, his assertion that only “justice matters” makes him more akin to those who say, but do not necessarily act like, “All Lives Matter.”

President Obama’s lack of attention to police brutality last night was particularly upsetting as his voice was also noticeably absent after the recent acquittal of Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, who are the two Cleveland police officers responsible for the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

In this address, we needed him to hear from him. To at the very least, show us that he hears us.

But while he spent considerable amounts of time reassuring an antsy (mostly White) American public that ISIS/IL was not as big as a threat to our national security as the Republicans Party have made them out to be, President Obama failed to offer the same reassurance to the 45 million African-Americans who worry about the very real threat facing us right at home.

And to me, there is no getting a pass on that.

The Bromance Is Real: Joe Biden Talks About President Obama Offering Financial Help During Son’s Illness

January 13th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Joe Biden Talks About President Obama Offering Financial Help During Son's Illness intro

Source: AP Images

Someone posted a meme saying that they wish they had someone who would look at them the way Vice President Joe Biden looks at President Obama. It’s true. It’s evident that their relationship extends beyond their professional duties.

In a recent sit down with CNN, political correspondent Gloria Borger asked Biden if there was a moment he was going to remember with the president.

Biden, after taking a moment of silence, reflectively told a very moving story.

Well, yeah there is one. He may be embarrassed. We were having lunch and it was pretty clear that Beau was having trouble with his speech. And he still had three months to go…four months to go as Attorney General. And my son Beau Biden was the most fastidious, honorable, straight guy. And I knew if my son thought he was losing his cognitive capability he wouldn’t stay on as Attorney General, he’d resign. Thank God he took all these tests, there was no cognitive impact but it was affecting his speech center.

And so I was having lunch with the President and he was the only guy, other than my family, I confided in all along with everything that was going on with Beau. And I felt a responsibility to do that so he knew where I was, my thinking. And I said, ‘You know, my concern is, if Beau resigns there’s nothing to fall back on.’ And I said, ‘But I worked it out. Jill and I will sell the house, we’ll be in good shape.’ And he got up and said, ‘Don’t sell that house. Promise me you won’t sell the house.’ Ah, he’s going to be mad at me saying this. He said, ‘I’ll give you the money. Whatever you need I’ll give you the money. Don’t Joe. Promise me. Promise me.’

And then, I’ll never forget the eulogy he delivered for Beau.

He continued with tears in his eyes. 

And when Beau had his stroke and it turned out it was the beginning of the neuroblastoma and he came running down the hallway, in his shirt sleeves, and he said, ‘Joe, Joe is he ok?’

His love of family and my family and my love of his family–you know his two children and my granddaughters are best friends. His number two daughter and my number 3 granddaughter they vacation together, they play on teams together, they sleep at each other’s homes all the time. It’s really, it’s personal. It’s family.

Such a beautiful story.

You can watch that portion of the interview here.

Obama To Honor Gun Violence Victims With Empty Seat At SOTU

January 10th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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With his last term in the White House coming to a close, President Obama is doing all that he can to dedicate his time to pushing gun control and educating Americans on why taking action on such matters are important, since Congress has not passed legislation doing so.

In an effort to continue this task of executive action, Obama has decided to leave a seat empty in the first lady’s box to honor slain victims due to gun violence during the State of the Union address on Tuesday (Jan.12), The Huffington Post reported. Historically, the process of deciding who will sit next to the first lady takes a significant amount of time, but instead of a high-profile figure, Obama felt it was only right to use that opportunity to reflect on larger issues the country is facing at large.

“We want them to be seen and understood that their absence means something to this country,” Obama said.

A White House official explained, “because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence—survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.”