Michelle Obama was asked a lot of questions during her SXSW keynote speechWould she run for president? What would she miss most about being First Lady?but she was there with a declarative statement: Let girls learn.
Joined by moderator Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Sophia Bush, and Diane Warren, Obama sat center stage and promoted Let Girls Learn, a new initiative to help the 62 million girls worldwide who dont have access to the education they need.
As part of this initiative, AOLs Makers, a website that focuses on womens stories, executive produced the song This Is for My Girls, written by Warren and featuring Zendaya, Kelly Rowland, Chloe and Halle, Janelle Monae, Missy Elliott, Lea Michele, Jadagrace, and Kelly Clarkson. Warren told Billboardthe charity single is kind of like We Are the World meets Lady Marmalade. Chloe and Halle, who are signed toBeyoncs label, opened the keynote with the single, as well as two original songs.
Obama said the shooting ofMalala Yousafzaiand the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian girls from a dormitory in 2014 are two things that inspired her to launch Let Girls Learn. The hashtag #62milliongirlshas been circulating as well, urging people to take action and sign the Change.org petitionto make sure every girl can pursue her dreams and contribute her successes to her community, her country and our world.
Sixty-two million girls not getting an education, thats personal,” said Obama.
Of course, it was exhilarating to see FLOTUS sitting next to Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah. And as Elliott said at one point during the speech, Queen taught us ladies first. Elsewhere, Queen Latifah asserted, Whenever you remove a womans voice from anything, you are lacking.
When asked what she would be doing after the White House (no, shes not running for president), Obama explained she would not be slowing down. Her work would continue: You dont have to be president of the United States to do great things.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
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