Obama Uses Light Moment With Vietnam's 'Queen of Hip-Hop' to Espouse Free Speech
President Barack Obama's parting shot before leaving communist Vietnam: let people express themselves.
He may have been referring to rap but the subtle message was aimed at his hosts who have been criticized for muzzling dissent.
During his three-day visit, Obama had spoken out strongly for human rights and free speech. On Wednesday, he brought it up again during a light moment after providing a supporting beat to a female rapper who asked him a question at a town hall meeting with hundreds of young Vietnamese.
"Before I answer your question, why don't you give me a little rap, let's see what you got," Obama -- his sky-blue shirt sleeves rolled up -- told the rapper known as Suboi. "Come on. Do you need like a little beat?" And he went on to show off his oral beat-producing skills on the microphone.
"Vietnamese or English?" asked Suboi, Vietnam's queen of hip-hop. "In Vietnamese, of course," the president responded. "I won't know what it means, but … just a short version, because I've got to get going. Go ahead."
After a few seconds of Suboi's catchy hip-hop, in which the rest of the crowd joined by providing an applause beat, Obama told her: "That was good. See there? That was pretty good" He requested for the meaning of the verse and got a lesson in materialism from the 26-year-old woman.