First Couple hosts celeb-filled concert amid sequestration
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle will host a star-studded roster of music legends April 9 for another glitzy installment in the “In Performance at the White House” concert series, according to a White House press released issued Tuesday.
The concert comes as the White House is emphasizing cuts caused by sequestration and criticizing reporters for not paying enough attention to the hardship caused by the mandatory slowdown in the rate of spending increases. Though the White House notably canceled all visitor tours in March, ostensibly due to sequestration, the First Couple’s series of White House concerts — billed as “the nation’s highest honor for popular song” — manages to survive.
Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake and Booker T. Jones are among the performers confirmed for the event.
“‘In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul’ will be broadcast Tuesday, April 16 at 8 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings),” according to the press release. Although the PBS website indicates past concerts have drawn corporate and philanthropic support, the event also receives major funding from PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which gets $445.2 million in public funding. It is not clear how much the White House will pay in security and other costs.
“In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” will be the tenth “In Performance at the White House” program hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. Starting in February 2009, these events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country Music,” according to the White House press release.