Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, and Chloe x Halle came together to support the first lady’s Let Girls Learn campaign.
As Michelle Obama prepares for life beyond the White House, she’s combining her passion for advocating on behalf of young women with her passion for getting that body moving.
In an effort to support the first lady’s Let Girls Learn campaign, a squad of female recording artists recently came together to record the song “This Is for My Girls.” It was written by Diane Warren and features a lineup that should appeal to about 30 years’ worth of music fans, including Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monáe, Lea Michele, Chloe x Halle, and Jadagrace. (If you’re listening for Michelle’s voice, though, you won’t find it. But hey, we all know she’s more of a dancer than a vocalist anyway, so we’re not too mad.)
If you’ve rocked out to a pop earworm from Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, or middle-period Destiny’s Child, you should really dig “This Is for My Girls.” It’s got jubilant horns, crystalline voices over big, glossy beats, and inspirational lyrics like “Don’t forget it’s all about respect, nothing else will do.” What’s not to like?
The single was released as a sort of long intro to Michelle Obama’s keynote address at SXSW on Wednesday, where she was joined by Warren, Elliott, and the actress Sophia Bush. Queen Latifah moderated the Q&A panel that followed. Cosponsored by Michelle and Barack Obama, Let Girls Learn is an initiative that aims to help more than 60 million adolescent girls around the world access education. All proceeds from “This Is for My Girls” will go toward the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund.
As far as implementation goes, the boots on the ground for Let Girls Learn will be Peace Corps volunteers, working within communities and developing pathways for young women to get into and stay in school. The program works with local leaders to dismantle barriers to education access, in the hope of building sustainable community policies that become part of the culture. (Making people stakeholders in their own futures tends to work better than just walking in and telling people what to do.) The first 11 countries to see the initiative roll out will be Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo, and Uganda.
So if you’re not going to volunteer for the Peace Corps, but still support efforts to ensure that young girls have access to an education, go to iTunes and spend your snack money on the new jam. Then dance like Michelle Obama is watching.