#FlotusBars: Why is Michelle Obama rapping about college?
The first lady took the mic to lay down a few inspirational bars in a new College Humor video promoting the importance of higher education.
Michelle Obama has danced with a turnip in the name of promoting healthy eating. The first lady has "mom-danced" with Jimmy Fallon to promote exercise. And she photobombed Miami Heat basketball players in the midst of a mock interview as she slam-dunked in the background to plug her Let's Move! campaign.
Now, Mrs. Obama is dropping a beat with Saturday Night Live regular (and frequent Barack Obama impersonator) Jay Pharoah to promote higher education.
In a new music video from comedy group College Humor, the first lady, sporting oversized sunglasses, strides out of the White House in slow motion and drops a few bars about the importance of going to college.
"If you wanna fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks? Fill your head with knowledge," Obama rhymes as Mr. Pharoah makes a stack of bills rain onto the floor of the White House.
The video is designed to draw attention to the White House's Better Make Room campaign, which encourages teens to excel in high school and attend college. It's part of a larger White House effort, Reach Higher, to address slipping US college graduation rates, by recognizing student success stories the same way celebrities and athletes are celebrated.
"I want to honor and empower young people who are working hard in school and pursuing their dreams – and I want to do it in a fresh and fun way," Obama said in a statement.
The first lady appears to nail the "fresh and fun" part.
In the the video, which has already gone viral on social media and inspired the Twitter hashtag #FlotusBars, she and Mr. Pharaoh rap and dance on the White House lawn and in a recording studio, where Obama even gets her own solo.
“South Side Chicago, we all know, we had to do overtime every night to make it tomorrow,” she rhymes. “And everyone could really make their dream true. Hey, kid listenin’ in Michigan, that could be you!”
Of course, this isn't the first time the first lady has turned to popular culture to promote White House initiatives. By now, we're used to the juxtaposition of, say, hip-hop and healthy eating. But it drives home the point that the Obama White House is adept at harnessing social media and youth culture to draw attention to issues the administration deems important.
It also drives home the point that Obama can dance, and, to a somewhat lesser degree, according to accounts, rap. Better than her husband, at least. What her teenage daughters think of their mom's very public song-and-dance, however, is another matter.