Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin represented the Caribbean and “Women of Soul” recently when first lady Michelle Obama hosted the annual “In Performance at the White House” series marking Women’s History Month.
The winner of last season’s television music reality series joined Ariana Grande, Jill Scott, Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle to collaborate on “Proud Mary,” a rocking track made popular by Tina Turner.
“Find your own voice and be proud of it,” the first lady said.
Chin was the only non-American included in the salute to great “foremothers” of American music celebration.
“What a lineup!” President Barack Obama said to the audience gathered inside the East Room at the home of the first family of the US.
“As someone who always shares this house with brilliant, creative, talented, somewhat stubborn women, I think Women’s History Month is the perfect time to honor a few more: the women of soul,” President Obama said.
The leader of the so-called free world opened the affair lauding the lineup which spanned generations of soul singing musical legends ranging from 71-year-old Franklin acclaimed to be the Queen of Soul to 20-year-old Grande.
Reportedly Grande seemed in awe of the illustrious group of singers and the select audience gathered at the world-famous, landmark capital Washington D.C. location.
“What’s up? How are you? Good to see you, the young singer said.
“Thank you for having me.”
First to move the distinguished crowd to their feet was soul singer LaBelle. Her rendition of her signature song — “Over the Rainbow” sparked a noticeable reaction from the president and his wife.
And while each and every woman delivered soulful renditions, the emotional high point came when the avowed queen of the genre appeared.
“Let’s have a party,” Franklin said.
Without missing a beat she segued into one of her hits — “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).”
She closed the show with what the president described as “one more treat” — a slow, soulful rendition of the gospel anthem “Amazing Grace.”
Slow at the start, the tempo of the often somber song heightened to end upbeat.
The president paid tribute to Franklin for turning her signature song “Respect” into “a rallying cry for African-Americans, women and then everyone who felt marginalized.”
It was at that juncture that President Obama spelled out the title and the in the process erred saying “R-S-P-E-C-T.”
“I’m sure the President had much on his agenda and was just a little tired,” Franklin said of the error.
In a statement she added “However, spelling and giving it, is a huge difference. The President and I are mutual when it comes to R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
Jamaica’s Chin was included among the legendary ladies because of her victory on television’s “The Voice” talent showcase last season.
The show was streamed live on March 6 on the White House website and will be broadcast April 7 on PBS stations.
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