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Vietnamese Rapper Suboi Appears in White House Video

Vietnamese rapper Suboi raps as U.S. President Barack Obama listens at a town-hall style event for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative at the GEM Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.
Vietnamese Rapper Suboi Makes Appearance in White House Video
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Vietnamese rapper Suboi appeared in a YouTube video with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tom Hanks and Aung San Suu Kyi.

The video shows memorable moments from U.S. President Barack Obama’s eight years in office.

Both celebrities and regular people tell about their favorite moments from Obama’s presidency.

The White House posted the video on its YouTube channel on January 5. It is about six minutes long and has been played over two million times.

One young woman remembered when her third grade class sent a letter to the president.

“It was really strange when he actually replied back,” she said. “It was like, whoa, I’m a third-grader and I can actually get a response from the president.”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson spoke about Obama working to pass the Affordable Care Act. The act provided health insurance to many Americans who could not afford to buy it in the past.

Suboi appeared in the video right after actor and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Suboi remembered what she was thinking when Obama called on her to ask a question during a “town hall” meeting with young Vietnamese in May 2016.

Suboi asked the president if he thought it was important for a nation like Vietnam to support its art and culture.

Then Obama asked Suboi, “Before I answer your question, why don’t you give me a little rap? Let’s see what you got.”

Suboi rapped for Obama and the two of them had a short conversation about the value of art in society.

He said art helps people realize “somebody else’s pain, or somebody else’s hopes.”

It was a popular moment in Vietnam and news organizations started calling Suboi “Vietnam’s Queen of Hip-Hop.”

Suboi told VOA’s Vietnamese service she was honored to be included in the video. She said the idea of a town hall, where regular people get to speak with a top leader, was new for most Vietnamese people.

She said she wanted to ask a question during the entire meeting, and when Obama asked for “one last question” she had to be the one to ask it.

Suboi said the fame coming from her exchange with Obama has not changed her daily life. But what changed is how she thinks about her role in society.

“We can't just sit down or discuss these topics over and over again. We must take action right now. Making changes for youth and our society is the most important thing,” she said.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Khanh An reported this story for Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

What did you think of Suboi’s conversation with President Obama? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

rapper – n. a person who performs rap music or speaks the words of a rap song

whoa used to show that you are surprised or impressed

insurance – n. an agreement in which a person makes regular payments to a company and the company promises to pay money if the person is injured or dies, or to pay money equal to the value of something (such as a house or car) if it is damaged, lost, or stolen