White House Poetry Jam

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May 13, 2009 11:01 a.m.

Last night, Michelle and Barack hosted a poetry jam in the White House. Joshua Bennett, James Earl Jones, Eric Lewis, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Mayda Del Valle and Esperanza Spalding all performed, and students from several nearby Universities were invited. “We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain,” President Obama told the crowd.

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First Lady Michelle Obama urged their guests to “enjoy, have fun and be loose” during the evening of musical and spoken word performances.

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Esperanza Spalding, a 2005 recipient of the Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship, performs.

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The first couple, on their way to the East Wing.
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Joe and Jill Biden also attended

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Joe and Spike Lee spoke as they arrived at the East Room.

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Eric Lewis, aka ELEW, performs.
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James Earl Jones recited from Othello.

Newscom/UPI

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“Our goal really is to bring the house alive,” said Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary. “We’re all American, but all of us come from different backgrounds. We want to expose Americans to other Americans that are doing brilliant work.”

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