Let's be honest: If Michelle Obama gives you any kind of shoutout, then you are probably a pretty extraordinary person.
So, it must feel good to be Chance The Rapper today after the former First Lady gave him a heartfelt nod at the 2017 BET Awards on Sunday night. In a pre-recorded video, Obama saluted the 24-year-old rapper, as he received the night's prestigious Humanitarian Award.
"With these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed, and they have so much to contribute to their community and our country," Obama stated. "I can think of no better legacy to leave, and I am thrilled to celebrate you here to tonight and honored to call you my friend."
The love and work doesn't stop there, with Chance just dropping new details about his new song with DJ Khaled on Instagram. "#iloveyousomuch drops tn, real vibes for all the babies," he captioned the post, which boasts a screenshot of a message from Khaled. "This for all the Families that love each other, all the lil braddas baby yea S/o to Asahd and Kensli for inspiring this record and to the legendary @DjKhaled for believing in me, reminding me to believe in myself, reminding me to be #Grateful and for giving glory to God. I think y'all gone like this one lol."
RELATED: Michelle Obama Continues to Encourage Students to Dream Big
We're running to download the new song ASAP! And here's to hoping the Obamas make an appearance at the BET Awards next year.
Well good afternoon and welcome to the White House, yay. We're here in the White House. [APPLAUSE] And we are beyond thrilled to have you all here today. i wanna start by thanking a few people who helped make this day possible. Of course, I wanna start with Megan Buyer in the President's Community on the Arts and the Humanities. Yay, you guys. [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, Urban Word, youth speak And, yeah, mm hm. [LAUGH] I forgot we snap here too. And I want to give a very special shout out and thank you to Olivia Morgan who has just [APPLAUSE] done all the great work to make this possible. [APPLAUSE] This is not on the teleprompter but Olivia, we couldn't have done this without you. Your passion, your energy, your focus, your vision has just been tremendous. Barak and I think the world of you and your whole family. And we love you and are so grateful for everything, okay we're not crying. [LAUGH] We're not gonna cry. But Olivia thank you so much. And I also wanna thank our distinguished guest an abstract poet himself. The one, the only queue/ tip, looking good [APPLAUSE] So good that have you? Now when my kids look up and go queue tip I know we're into something. You really don't care what I do here but they were excited that you were gonna be here there at school But, I also wanna give a huge thank you to our wonderful jurors, who helped to do the hard work, all of you who are here today. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, thank you. [APPLAUSE] And last but not least. I would like to recognize the young people who are up on not this stage but on front of this fire place with me. [LAUGH] Our fifth class of National Student Poets, let's give them another of around applause. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] I know we're proud of these guys and I got a chance to take some photos with their families proud families you're all, are excited to be here and watch your young people saw Thank you for creating these young people to all the families, way to go. [LAUGH] Well, I have to say that this event, I've said this too many times because we're celebrating a lot of last year this year. But this is the last time that we're gonna have the pleasure of welcoming a class of national student poets, to the White House. At least, under this administration. So, I'm feeling a little melancholy, here. Because this has truly been an honor and a privilege and a joy. So before we get into the readings, from these amazing poets. I just want to take a moment to reflect on how we got started. And while we're so committed till lifting up young people through the arts. Back when Barack and I first got to The White House, we knew that we wanna to use this incredible platform of The White House to inspire young people to dream really big for themselves. To think about what their lives could look like beyond. What their everyday existence is like. We want to ignite their ambition and also celebrate their talent because there are so many talented young people all over this country. It just blows my mind. We also knew that schools across the country in so many of them art and music classes were being cut back or eliminated completely and What we knew is that that loss is pretty devastating because we all know what the evidence shows is that when kids are involved in arts they do better in school and in life. They have higher grades, they have fewer behavioral problems. We talk about this at almost every event. They're more likely to go to college To graduate and go on and do wonderful things. So we know that the arts are critical. Barack and I also happen to be pretty huge poetry fans ourselves. My husband considers himself kind of a poet, but. [LAUGH] We'll see, we'll see. Maybe when he's done he'll write on for me. [LAUGH] You hear that, honey? [LAUGH] So, that's kind of where the idea of the National Student Poet Program from. And, of course, Olivia having Olivia on our team also a passionate person that's helped to make this happen. So we decided that we wanted to honor five outstanding poets each year and give them the mic here in the White House so that they could inspire countless other young people to follow in their footsteps. And since we started the program we received over 70,000 submissions from applicants. 70,000 Just so you know, the competition is fierce. [LAUGH] It's not like you just happened up here. [LAUGH] A lot of people have applied over the years. And we've named 20 national poets. And these talented young people have done so much over these years. They've traveled the country, many of them the world. And they've been sharing the magic of poetry with others. And this year we were proud to double the size of this program by naming the first class of five national youth spoken word ambassadors who are here with us today. [APPLAUSE] [LAUGH] You guys, stand up. [APPLAUSE] Together these talented students are what we call living, breathing proof of the power of poetry to transform young people's lives. We all know that being a kid today can be a little hard, may be tough, especially when you're a teenager and you're dealing with emotions and experiences that can be overwhelming to say the least. It's tempting at this age to just close down and shut out the rest of the world especially when the world can feel so ugly at times. But for so many people, writing poetry helps them open up, even in the face of all kinds of challenges and obstacles in their lives. And as [UNKNOWN] once put it, he said, the world's kind of cold, and the rhythm is my blanket. And you don't have to be a renowned artist like [UNKNOWN] to try your hand at poetry. You don't need any special equipment That's the beauty of it. You don't have to have any advanced qualifications, all you need to be is willing to work hard and have a whole lot of courage. Because it is never easy to expose your inner thoughts and rawest emotions, let alone in front of a lot of cameras. At the White House. [LAUGH] This is, they're like [SOUND]. [LAUGH] It's gonna be okay, it's gonna be fun! [LAUGH] It's gonna be fun. Maya, where's Maya? You put it best. Cuz these are your words, I'm told on the stage there is no way to leave unnoticed. Did you say that? Yes. Yeah? [LAUGH] Thank god, I was gonna check with my speechwriter. [LAUGH] But if you can summon that courage and go through draft after draft of writing, which is painful, I know. And then finally stand up on this stage and speak your truth. Well, here's what we know after all of that, you are ready for anything. That's the beauty of it. You're ready to graduate from high school, and go to college and chase after whatever dream you have. If you can be here, then you can do anything right? Small steps. And I believe that every young person in this country deserves those kind of opportunities. So I have one request that I make of all of our student poets, and I'm gonna make that of you all here today, I want you to go out there and share your gifts with others. That's your job now, all right. After all the fun and, there was a reception right? We fed you a little bit. [LAUGH] Maybe there will be cookies. In exchange [LAUGH] I want you to show other young people the power of taking risk and opening themselves up to the world. Talk to your teachers about bringing poetry into the classroom if they're not doing it. Make sure that folks in your communities understand why it's so vitally important to have the arts in our schools. And that might be asking a lot because you guys are gonna have busy years ahead. This year's gonna be busy. You're gonna be juggling your school work and Your writing with the speaking engagements that I know you're gonna have all across the country, so it's gonna be a busy time, but we chose you because we know you can handle this. And if you don't believe me, just listen to the stories of some of the alums of this program. Many of Whom are here with us today, where our alums. Yay you guys. [APPLAUSE] We've got a alums representing all four years of the national student poets initiative. One of these young people, They use poetry which she refers to as powertry. To help heal her community in the aftermath of a devastating school shooting. Another national student poet conducted poetry workshops at veteran centers and he helped one veteran fulfill her dream of putting her poetry to music. He even accompanied her on piano while she sang. Other student poets designed classes for military kids, taught workshops to incarcerated women, and brought poetry to senior citizens with Alzheimer's disease. So big shoes to fill. But of you follow their lead and keep on following your passion for poetry wherever it may take you, well you never know where you might end up. And that was certainly true for a spoken word poet. That I know someone who's not that much older than many of these guys. I'm older than him. [LAUGH] But this young man performed at the first ever White House Poetry Jam that my husband and I hosted back here in 2009 in the East Room. And this kid got up on stage and started rapping about Alexander Hamilton. [LAUGH] And he blew us away. That guy's name is Lin-Manuel Miranda and he expanded that song into one of the most extraordinary pieces of art that I and probably so many others have ever seen. [APPLAUSE] So that just goes to show you that if you can make it to the White House, you can make it anywhere. [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] And I'm excited to see where you all end up, and what you achieve in the years ahead. I want you all to have fun today. This is your day Being in the White House at this moment, doing what you're about to do, is something you should treasure. So I want you all to breathe deep and just enjoy it. We all love you, we support you, you all are winners. This is your stage, your house. So, I am proud of you, okay? All right. [APPLAUSE] We're gonna get going. Thank you all so much. Thank you for your hard work. Olivia, thank you so much, you all. God bless. Take it away. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for being here. My name is Stella Binion. I'm from Chicago, Illinois. I'm the National Student Poet representative for the midwest this year. Very honored to be here. The poem I'm reading for you all today is entitled One Sister Comes To Visit. She never cracked shell on mixing bowl rim. Instead picks coconut oil from thin metal loops when with her don't have to jump through them. Only have to pick up pace beside her in grocery store aisle, earth-balanced cinnamon, unsweetened chocolate chips. Watching from kitchen counter as brown hands coated in white flower trace patterns in hip-hop cemented self-taught familiar rhythm. But the way she licked sugar from fingertip as if she had ever tasted this sweet before. As if one home, as if got her hair permed every month, as if Christmas tree, not Katrina brought branch, as if didn't mother herself. Kitchen floor sags under weight of all she carries. The walls can barely hold all of her as she whisks are cord into mixing bowls. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] I have the great pleasure to introduce my fellow poet, [UNKNOWN]. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] Hi, my name is Maya Eashwaran and I'll be the National Student Poet for the southeast this year. I'm so excited and honored to be here. And I'll be reading my poem, Linguistics. Linguistics. For my mother. Ma, I haven't spoken Tamil in three years. Call it forgetting or just prenatal Americanization, some God must've known I was a child of loose change, of ambiguity, of everything more confused than it should be, of conjoined twins snipped off the cord together, of the love of a language mother maybe I lose the syllables of my name next. Text. Ancient and observing, still like the way rice farmers weigh into their crop after the monsoon swallowed them whole. This is a lesson on everything sacred. We promise to keep culture like dollars and gum wrappers, stashed in inside-out pockets, tumbled and dried in the wash Bleached and chlorinated by cities swimming pools. Floating pieces of ourselves blanched in cauliflowered contamination. This is how letters forget themselves. This is how a daughter looses the weight of her tongue in her mouth, replaces it with a borrowed accent. A softer L, a rumbling A, a smeared R. Toothpick consonance Dissidents. Ma, we were Indian until we weren't. Meanwhile, I pretend I am cultured. I read Dickinson, structure culture around the line breaks of my own ignorance. Outside the sun melts into itself and I am thinking of all the ways to say that I am lost The crumpled syllables cramping in my mouth. This is not poetry anymore. This is what happens when a daughter forgets where her lungs are. What they are made of. Ma I'm losing parts of myself everyday, leaving bits of human when I walk, buttons, sweater strings, bras, and dust, crushed bottles of water, worlds and worlds and words. Latex gloves and frozen-over car lots downtown. Mustard seed heat thawing, immigrant dreams, silence. I want to question whether these are the things that make up the constellations in my genetics, the silence of my voice. But even I know nothing is silent about life. I've lost more than I've ever lost in 16 years. I've started shedding ethnicity like hair. Mother, I fear I'll go bald. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] I have the pleasure of introducing my fellow poet, [UNKNOWN] Ramin. [APPLAUSE] [CLAP] Hi! My name is Gopal Raman and I'm from Texas. So I'll be representing the Southwest region. This poem is entitled, August 23rd, 2005. A quote from Sun Sentinel reads. Scores killed as Katrina pounds states along Gulf coast. The liken dips its furry fingers just inches in but it's enough. How nice to know when to stop. I woke up late today and cracked open the faucet and dipped my frail fingers in until they pruned and wrinkled. I can't write with tight skin. I leave the paper soaking, graphite shading the dripping shadows. The paper just sits, pruned and not wanting to dry off and that must be enough to feel the earth crackle but to not fear the water creeping through the cracks. To hear prune and think of the fruit. To hear cane and not hurry to run, but to taste the sugar melt into your mouth. My fingers are tightening up, so I dip them in the stream again, but they take longer to wrinkle. [APPLAUSE] Now I'm really excited to introduce another poet Joey Rysberg. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] Hi, I'm Joey Riceberg, I'm from Baltimore, and I'll be representing the northeast. This poem is called The Muses in a Rented Room in New Orleans. The muses, sick of being stuck on vases for millennia, take a holiday, and are seen here in their play. You to p taps the distant beat of a street car on her knee while turpsicery gyroscopes through the muggy air. Thalia barks bawdy jokes to the men slinking past the backdoor. As Mel Parmony bo hoo hoo's watching panhandlers parade beneath the scraggly Spanish moss Urania scrawls sketches of stars plummeting into the Mississippi. Ignoring Polonia parting her hair and dropping her face like Mardi Gras beads twining through tree branches. Cleo clambers between gravestones and pries open liken splattered mausoleums. Scribbling epistles to Marie Leveau in lipstick. Arado wastes reams of paper on her stunted sonnets to the man sitting outside straining soupy notes out of a trombone. Calliope's voice can barely be heard over the racket, but she is there too, whispering this poem into my ear. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Please welcome my fellow poet, Maya [UNKNOWN]. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] Hi, I'm Maya Salameh and I'll be representing the Western Region. I'm reading Sacrilege Incorporated. I speak to you terrorists, skyjackers, lifejackers and otherwise-flavored peddlers of sacred hearsay. I speak to you just FYI, just for your illumination. God is not a McDonald's franchise. You hold no right to sell, market or otherwise operate in his name. I speak to you for now is the time to close your, to close To open your eyes, to close your pocket books. No profits have ever had Swiss bank accounts. I speak to you. For if you love God, you would not lie in his name. You would not explode in his name. I speak to you. For the only God you seem to know is the god of destruction. Always thirsty for more blood, more tears, more futures gone wrong. I speak to you, for children belong to no creed and if holiness exists it is the selflessness that runs in their veins. I speak to you. For the magnetic attraction of violence keeps no home in the non polar hearts of the young. I speak to you, for senseless violence has no part in my definition of humanity. I speak to you, because blind faith is no faith. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] So now I have the honor to introduce one of my favorite artists, Q-Tip. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] Good afternoon. Afternoon. First of all, the language, the pictures and the dexterity of your voices is just amazing. We have another round of applause? [APPLAUSE] That was just so beautiful. [APPLAUSE] So beautiful. Just to, I wanna, thank Mrs. Obama. And, her whole team, and everybody who put together this whole initiative. To, I know that the arts saved my life. Just to share with you briefly, if I could. I was born in 1970. I grew up in New York City. I believe that John Lindsay may have been mayor of New York City at that time. And it was kind of dubbed the Forgotten City. And I had some family members who did tour in Vietnam and growing up in New York at that time it was just very disparate. It was on edge. It was famously wrought with, you know, Just depression and no hope, and I have to tell you that art, music specifically saved me. It scooped me up. I grew up in Queens, New York and the neighborhood was It was pretty much war-torn. But again, I can't tell you, I am a living example of how arts can really do so much, and lift you up. And encourage you and help you find the voice in a place where you don't hear it. And also, it's a fraternity for all of us and all of our past poets that we should all be honored and proud to be a part of because we're brave to be able to Kind of turn our insides out like that, and to share it, so it's no small feat. [BLANK_AUDIO] And I wrote this kind of, I'm so sorry to admit, but I kind of wrote it yesterday, so I'm a little bit nervous. But I really wanted to I really, but honestly, I really wanted to think about it. And I wanted to kind of take my time with it, in a way. But this is specifically for you. And it's called For You. If I may. [BLANK_AUDIO] Tailor trumpets sound glorious, counter melodies and lush spacious harmonies for your arrival. A welcoming for those with soldier courage to march out the dream. to the utopian reality. While pedestrians nod off to their smart phones lights flashing hazard of email notifications of Amazon. You are welcomed here. Listen close. Pin point your ears to the musical ceremonies of the yesterday Today. Hue's, Hurston, Giavani, Poe, Rockem, Yes, you're favorites, never heard of's, soon to be loved and studied, stood here in recognition hall. They danced and moved And cried, and laughed, and debated, and laughed. Their electricity scorched the Milky Way, and their singed and embered dream life shaped this place. Let this moment become your refuge From the sure-footed and determined agents of fear looking to nest and unload in your loft. [BLANK_AUDIO] Become the anti to the mundane song played everyday at 4:15 PM like clockwork. Recall your trumpet piece. When elevation is required over the ragtag valley laced with complacency and reached the top note of the chord. Coincidence is a word for the thin souled gambler. Destiny is the verbiage Fit for you on this day of your arrival. Feel the under current of your drum accompanied piece. Let the rhythm be the only routine to exist until your welcoming piece can be heard faintly By the one you are welcoming as I am welcoming you. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] And it's my pleasure To introduce. There you are, National Student Poet alum Chastity Hale. [APPLAUSE] There you are. There you are. [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] Hi, good afternoon everyone. Thank you for that lovely introduction. Okay, so. Okay. Last October, I was appointed a 2015 National Student Poet, thus joining a family of nationally recognized student poets, dating back to 2012. The primary role of a National Student Poet is to serve as a literary embassador. Promoting poetry through their region. Along with this responsibility we are encouraged to think about what poetry means to us and how this meaning can resonate with and shared with others. Poetry is memory alchemy. It is a place to live, a mold for language. It is Emily Dickinson's metaphorical lantern in the form of an action. Each national student poet carries out a community service project. For mine I worked with a local non-profit organization called Girl Power Rocks near where I live in Florida. For the 30 girls that I worked with poetry was an open forum. They used it to talk about the overwhelming presence of gun violence in their community, and how they hoped that things would change. Not only for them, but also for their siblings, nieces and nephews, and future children. They conveyed a sense of hopefulness and awareness necessary for changing the world. The subject matter of their writings range from systematic racism to environmental concerns. One student wrote that she would like to see a world where a young black boy can be proud of his past and not fear for his future. On trips to places like the Aspen Ideas Festival I have seen poetry be therapy. During a reception at a festival I watched an impromptu open mic where my peers read poetry healing both themselves and others with their words. They spoke about important things like gentrification, and the AIDs crisis and illuminated passion and confidence as everyone gathered around. Listen carefully and absorb their words. I use to describe writing as my lens for viewing the world. Now I realize poetry can be a lens but it can just as well be superhuman vision, allowing us to see every wave length. In the spectrum. Examine the very composition of our loved ones, of our friends, and even of strangers. And feel we know them better. In Savannah, Georgia, after a workshop at a Montessori school, I had a student come up to me and ask if I would like to read a poem he had written for Black History Month. In it, he expressed how February Is the one time in which he feels free. He wrote that black history month was the month where black flowers look back on the past and tell the world they mean something. It was one of my first times leading a workshop. I was just learning how to be a teacher, and what I learned was poetry calls out to children. Yearning to share powerful feelings. Poetry and writing is like having dozens of photo receptors in your eyes. It is registering finite colors seeing and feeling things from several different perspectives. It is seen trillions of miles away. With the National Student Poets Program, We are given a year without blinders to absorb all the light particles our eyes can. We are asking other people to look through poetry, with imagery and rhetorical language, with words, to look closer. Look now. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] And with that being said, I would like to introduce the alumni of the National Student's Poets Program. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] [BLANK_AUDIO] Before I was a National Student Poet. I sat on top of the mountain and asked it to give me a poem. Leaves fell above the far and distant cricket. The valley offered its old war song. And I passed them back down. I hated poetry. [LAUGH] [UNKNOWN] A world entirely in two dimensions. Have lived, loved, and perceived not. At 14 I was waiting for a sign. When I woke up, I already That yesterday would be different. They're hung in a shining mist upon the mountain. This couldn't have been expected. Was it- A dream, a lie, a promise? Something else now [INAUDIBLE] I was too, drinking the last [INAUDIBLE] I looked for ways Reach this body. Are there worlds in which we longed to be wise, to be kind, to be not so scared? I follow with my pencil across the page. And move myself into a new year. During my term as a national student poet. I followed my poems into rooms full of words on slips on paper clutched between students' fingers. Rearranged and read out loud. The poems are no longer my own. The words are [INAUDIBLE] out And growing still A cinnamon candy that never runs out, a house that burns in winter in [INAUDIBLE] grass, a dream of a golden wasp. How arranged the students in the classroom [INAUDIBLE] On the page. I am standing onstage at Lincoln Center, trying to build a new world by passing on my passion. I'm using my words as a broom, sweeping away [UNKNOWN] and [UNKNOWN]. Consider distance, how vast the span between our homes, how far we have driven on cracked highways This. Leaving the endless open air, to push together and fill the West with words. There's nothing else on the Salt Lake plain as we pack this room, scribbling hand against elbow. With stubbly pencils, tips chewed, and erasers bent. Each must be- Coaxed into sound. At first tentatively, then with greater conviction. When the symphony rises, I stand back and listen, they stand up and sing A celestial sonata. It swells and subsides like some hyperventilating beast. Like some unrelenting explosion. Like a slow slang the tongue learns. And everyone says yes. Be here with us. Be here and speak with you. After my term as a national student poet I will have Whitman here, and publish chapbooks on weekends, and read lines from the young blood. [LAUGH] I will remember The gift of a hotel ballroom here empty save the voices of friends. Welling over a single bag of grapes and holding the world at bay. Poets I have known will rise in me, red bubbled, sugar stirred, seeping. I'll be a sight of care and space. I will give thanks. I will give thanks, for the palm. For the intention, it has brought to my dance. I will give thanks for the way it asked me to touch the world. I will write. Until there are no more war songs, left to write. I will follow poems into other countries. For I do not fear the edge of page. I will look a long way into the past. I will go to sea and see clear the eye and bow just ahead beyond the future's mighty cricket. I'll glance to see the space his legs just left. And listen for a future sound. When the extraterrestrials come, I'll welcome them with open arms. [LAUGH] I will speak. And I will listen. Until I forget how to speak, how to listen. And if this happens I will learn to be again. From all of you here with me. I am. From the northeast. Southeast. Southwest. Midwest. West Region. I am. From the class of 2012. 2013. 2014. 2015. 2016. [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] As you know, I am going to cry. [LAUGH] If we ever wonder whether what we do makes a difference, it does. Thank you everyone for all of this. Thank you guys. I'm so proud of you. That was beautiful. You guys are awesome. Have a great year. [APPLAUSE] [BLANK_AUDIO]