WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Striding out of the White House in slow motion, sporting oversized sunglasses, Michelle Obama lays down a rap track aimed at raising the star power of math majors and engineering students.
“If you wanna fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks? Fill your head with knowledge,” Obama rhymes as comedian Jay Pharoah, known for his Saturday Night Live impression of her husband President Barack Obama, makes a stack of bills rain onto the floor of the White House.
The video is a funny and affectionate send-up of the celebrity culture that Obama has said she wants to turn on its head to try to get more American kids thinking about higher education.
Obama’s “Better Make Room” campaign, targeting students aged 14 to 19, encourages them to go to college by giving them a brush with fame on social media with help from celebrities like Pharoah and basketball great LeBron James.
The campaign is part of a larger White House effort to address slipping U.S. college graduation rates.
Obama, who grew up in a working-class family in the South Side of Chicago, often speaks to students about how she worked hard to get good grades and degrees from Princeton and Harvard.
“I want to honor and empower young people who are working hard in school and pursuing their dreams - and I want to do it in a fresh and fun way,” she said in a statement.
Obama and Pharoah had help on the video from viral video makers The Gregory Brothers, and it was produced by IAC/InterActive’s CollegeHumor, which makes viral comedy videos.
“I think the country will join me in saying, ‘Mrs. Obama, we think you should cut an album,’” said Sam Reich, CollegeHumor’s head of video, in a statement.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Miral Fahmy