Malia Obama turned 18 on Monday, and her father didn’t miss the opportunity to honor her with a star-studded public rendition of “Happy Birthday.” “Because it’s the job of a father to embarrass his daughters, I’ve got one last job,” President Barack Obama informed the crowd at the White House July 4th picnic. Then he launched into a hoarse sing-along with accompaniment from Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monáe.
Lamar and Monáe were both on hand to perform on the White House’s South Lawn as part of the Independence Day barbecue. The two have visited before – Lamar met the president in January to promote the Pay It Forward program, the President’s initiative to mentor inner-city youth. Monáe stopped by the White House in April to discuss criminal justice reform.
The President praised both artists for their efforts as musicians and activists. “I have to tell you, these two, I’ve gotten a chance to know, and they are both amazing artists and talented and popular and doing great things … But they are also very conscious about their responsibilities and obligations. And they put in a lot of time and effort on behalf of a lot of causes that are important. We’re really proud of them for that.”
In addition to being Father-In-Chief, the President reminded those in attendance that achieving independence is an ongoing project. “That story of independence is not something that happens and then we just put away,” he said. “It’s something we have to fight for every single day.”