First Lady Michelle Obama spent Friday, January 17th – her actual birthday – out of sight, with no public appearances, except the tweet of a photo of herself holding up her AARP card. She tweeted, quote, “Excited to join Barack” in the 50-plus club today . “check out my @AARP card!”
But last night, January 18th, Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder rocked the White House at a star-studded, late-night dance party celebrating Obama’s 50th, two guests told the Chicago Tribune today. President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha joined family friends, elected officials, entertainers, athletes, business executives and big donors at the gala, which kicked off Saturday and lasted until the wee hours Sunday morning, the sources said.
The event was closed to the press, and the White House did not release a guest list or any other details. But two guests spoke to the Tribune on condition of anonymity, describing a bash at which a deejay kept people on the dance floor in the East Room until after 3 a.m. Washington time. VIP guests, according to sources, included political luminaries Bill and Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, national security adviser Susan Rice, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Democratic National Committee official Donna Brazile.
Other high-profile guests included Sir Paul McCartney, Magic Johnson, Chicago-born actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, singer Janelle Monae, actor Kal Penn, TV personality Al Roker, actress Ashley Judd, tennis great Billie Jean King, retired Olympic figure-skater Michelle Kwan and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the sources said.
The president, who was spotted with a martini glass, spoke about his Chicago-born wife at the gala, saying she was great mother and wife and that she had made him a better man, the sources said. His mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, also turned out, they said.
The guest of honor wore a flowing red blouse and pants and was often dancing, the sources said. The East Room was loaded with dancers and “most people were in there dancing all night long,” one source said. The music was a mix of rhythm and blues and contemporary club music, the source said. The first lady “seemed very comfortable and happy. Very celebratory,” said the other source. “It was such a fun, fun party.”
Singer John Legend sang the happy birthday song to Michelle Obama, according to the sources. They said Beyoncé, who is a close friend of the Obamas, sang hits including “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)“ and “Irreplacable,” and Wonder gave a more impromptu performance that included “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “Do I Do.”
Also on hand were Chicago-area friends: Kaye and Wellington Wilson, Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whitaker, Laura Ricketts and Paula and Jim Crown, the sources said.
Before Christmas, invitees got save-the-date notices telling them to come for “Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert.” They were urged to wear comfortable shoes, practice their dance moves and eat before the party, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Washington time.
The buffet table offered finger food, including mini-sliders featuring beef brisket, the sources said, and an open bar had hard liquor, champagne, beer and wine, the sources said. Guests were told not to bring cellphones with them, and there was a cellphone check-in area for those who did, the sources said. Signs at the party told guests: No cellphones, no social media. That didn’t stop singer Hudson from sending out a tweet: “We had such a good time with the 1st family in dc tonight ! Now on to the next stop !”
She released an Instagram photo of herself wearing a body-hugging electric blue mini-dress while posing with her fiancé. Hudson did not perform Saturday, the sources said. She headlined a concert when President Obama celebrated his 50th birthday in Chicago, in 2011. So great was the secrecy surrounding the party that guests were handed an invitation — on their way out, the sources said.
The first lady’s office had no comment Sunday.
article by Katherine Skiba via chicagotribune.com