The latest “In Performance at the White House” concert series, scheduled for Monday evening to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, was canceled due to the deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. But Michelle Obama managed to spark controversy with comments she made at a gathering of students earlier in the day.
The concert, announced last week, was going to feature artists Natalie Cole, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Raul Malo, Ricky Martin, Prince Royce, Arturo Sandoval, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz and Marco Antonio Solis, according to a White House statement. Like previous events, it was to be recorded for national broadcast later on PBS and on the American Forces Network for U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
As part of the schedule, the first lady hosted a special afternoon session with a few of the artists and about 130 middle and high school students from around the Washington, D.C. area.
“I really want you all to know that today and every day, this is your house,” the first lady said, according to a White House release. “So I want you guys to relax, to loosen up, to take a deep breath. Because I want to make sure that you get everything you can get out of this experience, and you can do that if you kind of breathe in and stop thinking about being in the State Room.”
Even though White House tours have not been restored in “the people’s house,” Obama then said something that most adults might not appreciate.
“Whenever we have musicians or artists or movie stars come here to perform – which these folks will be doing these evening for a bunch of rich people and fancy people and all of that, right – the most fun is when we invite young people like all of you here during the day so that you get a chance to talk to these folks and learn from them,” she said.
According to the White House press office, “Música Latina” would have been the 12th “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration.