Five young poets appointed through the National Students Poets, the country’s highest honor for young poets presenting original work, performed their craft for first lady Michelle Obama Thursday, moving her to tears with their powerful words.
After their performance, FLOTUS approached the podium and declared, “I’m going to cry,” reports HuffPost.
“If we ever wonder whether what we do makes a difference, it does,” she said, holding back tears. “Thank you, everyone, for all of this, thank you guys, I’m so proud of you.”
This year, the National Student Poets highlight the work of Spoken Word Ambassador Program, a first for the annual event.
FLOTUS said that the students were “living, breathing proof of the power of poetry to transform people’s lives.”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
“We all know that being a kid today can be a little hard. It can be tough, especially when you’re a teenager and you’re dealing with emotions and experiences that can be overwhelming, to say the least,” said the First Lady. “It’s tempting at this age to just close down and shut out the rest of the world especially when the world can feel so ugly at times. But for so many people, poetry can help them up.”
The First Lady shared a moment from the event, introducing one of the young poets on her Instagram account.
Hello everyone! I'm Stella, I'm seventeen years old, and was born and raised in Chicago. Poetry for me is a means of connection to environments and worlds that are different than mine, and those within them. I am ecstatic to be the National Student Poet representative for the Midwest and to spread understanding and meaning through poetry alongside the four other NSPP poets this year! -Stella, a proud member of the 2016 class of the National Student Poets. Today, Stella and four of her peers will be honored for their craft by the First Lady at the @WhiteHouse.
The young poets shared works from a spectrum of subjects, including “the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the loss of a native language and the false pretenses of religious radicalism." the HuffPost reports.
These kids are deep!