Michelle Obama Recruits Missy Elliot, Zendaya, Others for New Girl-Power Anthem

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Michelle Obama will give the opening speech at the SXSW music festival on Wednesday via the Associated Press
Michelle Obama gave the opening speech at the SXSW music festival on Wednesday via the Associated Press

First Lady Michelle Obama has produced a new song for charity, with the help of some of the music industry’s heavy hitters, to encourage girls’ rights to education.

Obama produced the single with songwriter Diane Warren as part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, whose goal is to give young girls access to the best education possible. The global initiative wants to get nearly 62 million girls, half of them adolescents, back into school.

Warren is a world-renowned songwriter, with hits that include “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” sung by Aerosmith, and “Un-Break My Heart,” sung by Toni Braxton. Warren has also earned eight Academy Award nominations, five Golden Globe nominations and 12 Grammy Award nominations over her career.

The single, “This Is For My Girls,” was released ahead of the first lady’s keynote speech at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Obama described the song as a strident, girl-power anthem that is  “We Are the World” meets “Lady Marmalade.”

Warren disclosed details about the making of the single in an interview with Billboard.

“We haven’t had an anthem like this in a while,” she said. “I envisioned the record being with all these different women, never just one girl singing on it.”

Warren said, “With Kelly Rowland on it, it’s almost like an updated Destiny’s Child record. I think it can be a huge worldwide anthem. I hope it becomes that.”

The song features many high-profile entertainers, including genre-bending artist Janelle Monae; singer/actress Zendaya; legendary rapper Missy Elliot; singer Kelly Clarkson; and newcomers Chloe & Halle and 16-year-old Motown artist Jadagrace.

The song is currently available only on iTunes.

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