Falling in line with an American tradition, President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a Fourth of July celebration at the White House to commemorate America’s independence and the country’s military veterans.
While the festivities included the expected food and fireworks, this year’s event was somewhat bittersweet for the Obama family. To celebrate Barack Obama’s last Fourth as POTUS in style, musical guests Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monáe each performed a few of their standout singles at the barbecue.
Lamar’s setlist included “Poetic Justice,” “Money Trees,” “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and To Pimp A Butterfly‘s “Alright.” Monáe performed “Tightrope” and paid tribute to late musical legend Prince with his song, “Let’s Go Crazy.” After their performances, President Obama complimented the two not only for their talents, but for their consciousness toward their social responsibilities.
After apologizing for the bad weather and the cancellation of the traditional outdoor picnic, Obama took time to reflect on the meaning of the Fourth of July. “That story of independence is not something that happens and then we just put away,” Obama said.
“It involves us recognizing that there are still people in this country who are going hungry—and they’re not free because of that. There are still people in this country who can’t find work. And freedom without the ability to contribute to society and put a roof over your head or look after your family, that’s not yet what we aim for.”
On top of it being Independence Day, July 4 also marks the Obama’s eldest daughter’s birthday (how fitting). The President led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to now-18-year-old Malia, and added that it’s the “job of a father to embarrass his daughters.”
Hope you had a happy Fourth of July, America!