The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

White House Poetry Slam

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the White House Correspondents Dinner in WashingtonThe more I hear or read about Michelle Obama, the more I like her. The latest news about poetry night at the White House, and her reasons for holding it, are just one more reason.

First lady Michelle Obama says the White House is a place where people should feel free to speak their minds. To that end, she and President Obama welcomed actors, poets and writers to the East Room on Tuesday.

The Obamas hosted a night of poetry reading and the spoken word featuring James Earl Jones, Esperanza Spalding and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The night also included musical interludes, modern poetry and excerpts from Shakespeare.

Mrs. Obama says the administration wants to make the White House available to everyone. She also wants performers to share their experiences.

The White House is a place where people should feel free to speak their minds? I don’t know if Mrs. Obama had this particular story in mind, but somewhere Eartha Kitt — who spoke her mind to another First Lady, regarding the Vietnam War, and suffered CIA surveillance and the Johnson administration’s attempt to destroy her career as a result — is smiling.


  1. Good grief, how refreshingly, wonderfully civilized.

  2. Where can I listen to the performances?