True to their vow to make the White House accessible to ordinary Americans - especially the young - Barack and Michelle Obama hosted a night of poetry reading and the spoken word.
Held in the candlelit East Room of the presidential mansion, the evening started with the First Lady inviting guests to “enjoy, have fun and be loose”.
The programme featured James Earl Jones reciting from Othello and Joshua Brandon Bennett, a New York wordsmith, delivering an ode to his deaf sister, which he translated simultaneously into sign language.
Another highlight came courtesy of Chicago native Mayda del Valle who presented a poem about her Puerto Rican grandmother. "To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot,” she said.
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