Wed | Oct 21, 2020

Tessanne thanks Obama for White House opportunity

Published:Saturday | March 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Tessanne Chin belts out a song at the Kingston waterfront during a homecoming concert in her honour on January 12.-Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
The White House in Washington, DC, home of trhe US president.

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

In performance at the White House: Women of Soul delivered powerful performances from some of the world's top female vocalists on Thursday night.

While a concert featuring overseas acts would not make the pages of The Gleaner's Entertainment section, Jamaica paid particular attention to this performance.

Guests of the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, were treated to an evening of soulful entertainment as The East Room of the White House was transformed into a concert hall and the 'women of soul' delivered powerful renditions of some classic hits.

Marking the celebration of Women History Month in the US, the concert was held as a tribute to the fore mothers of the country's music and saw performances from Patti LaBelle; Ariana Grande; the Queen of soul, Aretha Franklin; and Jamaica's Tessanne Chin; among others.


Introduced by the President himself, Patti LaBelle who turns 70 in May, opened the night's performances with Over the Rainbow and delivered the Academy-award winning ballad in true LaBelle style with some smooth vocals.

LaBelle then made way for the young Grammy-award winner, Janelle Monae.

Monae graced the stage in her usual black and white outfit and belted out the lyrics to Shirley Bassey's hit Goldfinger before making way for another Grammy-award winner, Melissa Etheridge.

Etheridge paid tribute to another great woman of soul - Gladys Knight - who she said inspired her throughout her childhood. She delivered Knight's hit Neither One Of Us to a standing ovation.

Jamaica's Tessanne Chin then made her White House debut. Stepping out in a form-fitting Chagoury Couture red gown, the season five winner of 'The Voice' expressed her gratitude to President Obama and the First Lady for allowing her the opportunity to perform in their home.

She briefly spoke of her childhood and growing up in a musical family before getting into her rendition of Donna Summer's Last Dance.

The Jamaican songbird held her own, showing off her vocal range. She got the audience so involved in her performance that they couldn't resist the urge to get up and dance. She was given a resounding round of applause at the end of her performance and a warm embrace from superstar Patti LaBelle.

Social media world erupted shortly after Chin's performance, with many expressing their love and support for Chin who had, once again, made history.


Even the ladies she shared the stage with took to Twitter to talk about the experience. Ariana Grande tweeted, "It was an honour @JanelleMonae @metheridge @MsPattiPatti @missjillscott @Tessanne @ArethaFranklin ???".

Janelle Monae tweeted, "LOVE these INCREDIBLE WOMEN! What an HONOR: @metheridge @ArianaGrande @MsPattiPatti @missjillscott @Tessanne @ArethaFranklin #WhiteHouse.

Chin herself joined the Twitter conversation, saying "Y'all sorry if I'm on a happy streak but Lord knows I feel like singing dancing and shouting all at once !!! #dreamsdocometrue I Love yah." The tweet by Chin was retweeted more than 70 times. A video of Chin's performance uploaded to YouTube on Thursday night has already gained nearly 9,000 views.

Other performances of the night came from actress and singer Jill Scott, the young Ariana Grande, and Aretha Franklin.

The ladies of the moment graced the stage for a second time to give a group performance of Tina Turner's hit single Proud Mary.

The Queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, brought the curtains down on a spectacular musical showcase, also bringing the Church to the White House with a powerful music testimonial.