President Barack Obama misspelled Aretha Franklin’s hit song when he introduced the singer at the White House Women of Soul event Thursday night.
“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women and then anyone who felt marginalized,” Obama said.
Patti LaBelle, Ariana Grande, Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, Tessanne Chin and Jill Scoot were also in attendance.
The President declared March “Women’s History Month” calling it the perfect occasion to honor female trailblazers in music “as someone who shares his house with brilliant, creative, talented, somewhat stubborn women.”
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“Quickly I want to make a public service announcement,” he said. “When Aretha Franklin first walked into FAME studio in 1967 most of the other musicians had never heard her sing live before. When they did one of them said the floors rumbled … So my advice to everyone tonight is simple: Hang on. The Queen of Soul is in the building. If she blows your mind it’ll be okay.”
“That’s what soul music does. It makes us move and makes us feel,” he added.