Presidents’ Day 2017: Look back at Obama’s contributions to house music
Today, February 20, the country honors George Washington’s birthday – albeit, two days early – by celebrating Presidents’ Day. Those Americans who have jobs which recognize the federal holiday enjoy a long weekend to engage in whichever vacation activities the late February weather allows.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the value that our 44th President, Barack Obama, acknowledged in house music. As an Illinois Senator, Obama officially deemed August 25 to be thereafter recognized as “Frankie Knuckles Day” throughout Chicago, in honor of The Godfather of House. The day marks the anniversary of the date in 2004 that the city renamed stretch of road where the legendary Warehouse once stood as “Frankie Knuckles Way.”
Barack Obama made sure to honor the Chicago-born genre even after entering the Oval Office. Following Knuckles’ passing in April 2014, Barack and Michelle Obama wrote the following letter the pioneering DJ’s friends and family:
Obama didn’t reserve his gratitude exclusively for the Godfather of House. Past officially referring to Frankie Knuckles as a “trailblazer,” the Former President also thanked Chicago’s pioneering Chosen Few DJs for their 25th annual Chosen Few Picnic on July 4, 2015.
The respect which Obama gave to house music in both his senatorial and presidential offices was undoubtedly a major influence upon Chicago’s decision to officially recognize DJing as an art form in 2016. Suffice it to say, the 44th President played a far greater role in helping dance music to progress than any of his predecessors.
In honor of his contributions, and of Presidents’ Day, we’d like to say: “Thanks, Obama.”