When Obama’s people set up this town hall meeting, they weren’t expecting Vietnam’s queen of hip-hop to lay down some bars.
Yesterday, a Vietnamese town hall played host to the most unexpected collaboration of the year. In the red corner, Suboi – a female rapper from Saigon. In the blue corner, Barack Obama – US president (for a few more months at least) and leader of the free world.
Choosing questions from the audience, the US President picked the most persistent crowd member…who just happened to be the most successful female rapper in Vietnam. She revealed her identity while quizzing him on the Arts, and Obama laid down the beat for a short demonstration. Watch the video below:
While this may seem like a quirky diversion, this performance actually sends a powerful political message. Although many countries take the Arts for granted, in Vietnam musicians find themselves dealing with state regulations. Obama used his parting words to hit back at censorship:
“Imagine if at the time that rap was starting off that the government had said ‘no because some of the things you say are offensive or some of the lyrics are rude or you’re cursing too much.'[…] That connection that we’ve seen now in hip-hop culture around the world wouldn’t exist.”