Probably still recuperating from last night the East Wing has yet to release an official statement about the first lady’s 50th birthday party at the White House on Saturday. But more details are slowly trickling in about the star-studded dance party even though cameras were a big no no.
The night’s worst kept secret? A performance by mega star Beyonce, who is quickly becoming a fixture at all major Obama milestones. From serenading the first couple with their favorite song–Etta James’ “At Last”–at the first inaugural ball to singing for the rest of us at 2013’s swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. Carter could claim the title diva-in-chief.
Other bold face performers included R&B crooner John Legend, jazz singer Ledisi and fellow Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson. And the VIP guest list hardly stopped there. Former White House occupants Bill and Hillary Clinton, Oprah bestie Gayle King, legendary Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, Actor Samuel Jackson, NBA great Magic Johnson, Motown’s Smokey Robinson, former Olympic figure skater and current State Department senior adviser Michelle Kwan, TV host Rachel Ray, and singer James Taylor were all on hand to wish Mrs. Obama happy birthday.
Leading up to the big event, the White House remained pretty tight-lipped about the festivities. In December the Chicago Tribune reported that the party’s theme would be “Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert” and that guests were advised to bring their dancing shoes and, more specifically, to “eat before you come.” That last bit, which rankled some professional event planners, was confirmed by guest Tom Joyner. On his way home the last night Joyner told journalists waiting outside the White House in the cold that there was definitely “no food.”
Joyner was actually among the few guests who took to social media before the big party, tweeting that he was on his way to 1600 Penn at around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
I’m on my way to party with @FLOTUS Michelle Obama as I type this!
— Tom Joyner (@TJMShow) January 19, 2014
Soon thereafter Democratic strategist Donna Brazile gently chided the radio host, tweeting back that the party was supposed to be a secret. She even added the hashtag “#shhhh.”
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) January 19, 2014
Clearly some lucky invitees just couldn’t help themselves. Christopher Peregrin, a former assistant to Annie Leibovitz who shot Michelle Obama for the cover of Vogue in 2009 and 2013, took his own snapshot of his golden ticket to the White House and posted it on Instagram the day of the party.
“Fifty and fabulous” is the tagline Mrs. Obama has been using to describe her much-talked about birthday and judging from the star power at the White House on Saturday it was a fabulous affair indeed.