3.16.2016

Missy Elliott & Queen Latifah Talk Female Empowerment with First Lady Michelle Obama

Ladies first! Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah joined First Lady Michelle Obama for her Opening Keynote at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday (Mar. 16). During the conversation, Misdemeanor opened up about her female influences.

“People like Queen Latifah, who is sitting on this stage, her album, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa,” said Missy (via Billboard). “These women are the reason I am an MC. I became an artist because of their music. Queen Latifah taught us ‘U-N-I-T-Y,’ she taught us ‘Ladies First.’ Her music has done so much for me.”

The moment was also important for Latifah, who noted the irony of the occasion. “It’s weird to write ‘Ladies First’ and be sitting with the First Lady,” she explained, referencing her 1989 single off All Hail the Queen. “It’s surreal to me.”

The event, which also featured Sophia Bush, follows the release of “This Is for My Girls,” a female empowerment anthem written by Diane Warren, which features Missy, Zendaya, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Clarkson, Lea Michele, and more. FLOTUS organized the song to promote her Let Girls Learn initiative and the #62MillionGirls campaign.

During her talk, Obama also shot down rumors that she’s eyeing the presidency as her husband, President Barack Obama, wraps up his final year in office.

“I will not run for president,” she said. “I got these two young people at home. Being the daughters of a president—just think about it. C’mon young people, not so easy! They handled it with grace and poise but enough is enough. There are so many ways to impact the world. You don’t have to be the president of the United States to do wonderful things.”