While hosting a reception for Black History Month in the East Room of the White House Thursday, President Barack Obama greeted the crowd with First Lady Michelle Obama by his side, and of course, he brought the jokes.
“We know it is Black History Month when you hear somebody say, ‘Haay Michelle! Girl, you look so good!’” Obama said.
Addressing the crowd, FLOTUS kept it going, quipping,“he’s alright. You look good too, baby.”
The president, who met with more than a dozen civil rights leaders earlier in the day, turned the seriousness on, touching on how important it was that young people carry the torch in the present-day movement. During Thursday’s meeting, the president sat between Brittany Packnett, an activist from Ferguson, Mo., and iconic civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.). He commented on the intergenerational moment during the Black History Month reception.
“What’s so inspiring about these young people and their generation is that they don’t see black history as a relic; it’s not something to study in a book,” Obama said. “They don’t see themselves as distant from that history — they are participants, making history. It’s alive, something that we have the power and the responsibility to shape and to wield.”
Obama also discussed the history of African-Americans in the U.S. and in the White House.
“From our earliest days, black history has been American history,” Obama said. “We’re the slaves who quarried the stone to build this White House, the soldiers who fought for our nation’s independence, who fought to hold this union together, who fought for freedom of others around the world.”
A leader from Black Lives Matter Chicago respectfully declined an invitation to Thursday’s talk, writing in an op-ed on Truthout that the gathering was a photo-op that didn’t address the real problems.
“I could not, with any integrity, participate in such a sham that would only serve to legitimize the false narrative that the government is working to end police brutality and the institutional racism that fuels it,” Aislinn Pulley wrote.
“If the administration is serious about addressing the issues of Black Lives Matter Chicago – and its sister organizations that go by different names across this nation – they can start by meeting the simple demands of families who want transparency, and who want police that kill Black people unjustly to be fired, indicted and held accountable. A meeting arranged to carry this out is one that would be worthy of consideration. Until this begins to happen on a mass scale, any celebrations of Black history that go on inside the walls of the White House are hollow and ceremonial at best.”
You can read Pulley’s full article here.
Here Are 21 Of President Barack Obama’s Best Photos Of 2015
1. JANUARY: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address with the support of vice president Joe Biden. Obama gained mass support after his joke about winning both terms.Source:Pete Souza 1 of 20
2. JANUARY: President Barack Obama has an adorable moment with Akira Cooper at the Community Children’s Center, one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan.Source:Pete Souza 2 of 20
3. JANUARY: President Obama greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India.Source:Pete Souza 3 of 20
4. JANUARY: President Barack Obama greets neighbors after visiting a model home at the Nueva Villas at Beverly, a single-family housing development owned by local nonprofit organization Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz.Source:Pete Souza 4 of 20
5. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama fakes a jump shot during an Affordable Care Act video taping for BuzzFeed in the White House Library. The video went viral thanks to jokes about his presidency and ultra-cool swag.Source:Pete Souza 5 of 20
6. FEBRUARY: Obama pals around with one of his biggest supporters, vice president Joe Biden. While he chose not to run in the 2016 presidential election, Obama said he would be in his corner.Source:Pete Souza 6 of 20
7. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama talks with 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet as “Humans of New York” founder Brandon Stanton photographs during a blog interview in the Oval Office. Obama was greatly inspired by Chastanet’s comments on the popular “Humans of New York” Instagram page, where he shared his troubles finding courage in school and and life despite living in a dangerous area of Brooklyn, NY.Source:Pete Souza 7 of 20
8. MARCH: Obama is a classic man as he puts on a green tie in observance of St. Patrick’s Day.Source:Pete Souza 8 of 20
9. MARCH: President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.Source:Pete Souza 9 of 20
10. APRIL: During the Correspondents’ Dinner, his anger translator – played by Key & Peele comedian Keegan-Michael Key – helped Obama get out his biggest frustrations.Source:Pete Souza 10 of 20
11. APRIL: President Obama arrives in Jamaica to meet with the 15-member Caribbean Community. His trip marked a first for the sitting president and second since the country’s independence.Source:Pete Souza 11 of 20
12. APRIL: Obama speaks with newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office.Source:Pete Souza 12 of 20
13. JUNE: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are seen talking during the president’s trip to the G7Summit in Bavaria, Germany.Source:Pete Souza 13 of 20
14. JUNE: President Obama sings “Amazing Grace” during the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney’s funeral service. Clementa was one of the nine victims who died after suspected shooter Dylann Roof entered the AME church and opened fire.Source:Getty 14 of 20
15. SEPTEMBER: President Obama is featured on the popular show “Running Wild With Bear Grylls.” Obama took the trip to highlight the importance of climate control.Source:Pete Souza 15 of 20
16. SEPTEMBER: The First Couple serve as “love goals” at the White House’s state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan. Obama and Xi announced an agreement on controlling climate change and a mutual outlook on cyber security.Source:Getty 16 of 20
17. OCTOBER: President Obama meets with Ahmed Mohamed, the student who was detained by Texas police for his homemade clock. The president stood by the teen, who many believe was the victim of Islamophobia.Source:Getty 17 of 20
18. NOVEMBER: President Obama issues a warning to his critics who “pop off” at his policies towards Syrian refugees. Speaking at the OP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, Obama welcomed his Republican critics to the White House to lay down their own policies. No one has responded.Source:Getty 18 of 20
19. DECEMBER: President Obama addresses the public from the Oval Office regarding the San Bernardino shooting.Source:Getty 19 of 20
20. DECEMBER: All grown up! The First Family, including Obama’s mother-in-law Marian Robinson, is seen at the White House’s national Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.Source:Getty 20 of 20
SOURCE: CBS, ABC | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty