This post has been updated
January 2017 will definitely see an onslaught of A-list tourists at the White House. But they’re not coming for the inauguration.
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will host a goodbye party for close friends and major donors Friday, according to a person with knowledge of the marquee affair. The Obamas themselves confirmed during an interview with People Magazine last month that they’d have one final bash at the White House. The president told a young fan that they’d have a “grown up” party before packing their bags.
Of course, there’s no official word from the White House yet. Typically the Obama administration keeps a tight lid on celebration details until the 11th hour, releasing a just-the-facts statement the day of the event. But the big names thought to be on the guest list have been slowly trickling out this week.
Old standbys such as singer Usher and actor Samuel L. Jackson will most likely be there, according to another person with knowledge of the invitees. Also currently practicing their sweet moves are media titan Oprah Winfrey, who snagged an exit interview with the first lady last month on her fellow invitee and bestie Gayle King’s network CBS; actor Bradley Cooper, who showed up to the French state dinner sans underpants; Beyoncé, who sang at both of Obama’s inaugurations, and her husband, rapper Jay Z, are both whispered to be performing. We’re also hearing that Stevie Wonder, who has performed at the White House, director J.J. Abrams and director George Lucas make the list.
If this star-studded shindig follows the traditional Obama script for private parties, the first couple will be footing the bill themselves as they did for the Prince concert in 2015. Cell phones will be confiscated at the White House security gate and social media crumbs will be few. But afterward, tales of the president’s dance moves and sore feet will make the late-night talk show rounds.
The White House party will act as the kickoff of a goodbye tour of sorts for President Obama, who will head to Chicago to deliver a farewell address Jan. 10.