In an effort to raise money for her "Let Girls Learn" campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that Missy Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, and Janelle Monae have worked together on the song "This Is For My Girls."
The announcement came during a keynote address by the first lady at the South by Southwest Music festival, in which she asked people to "not just to care about this issue but to do something about it," as she wrote in an essay published just before her speech. The essay went on to discuss a number of obstacles that typically prevent girls from obtaining an education, including schools being too far from home, high costs, and rundown bathrooms that cause girls stay at home once a month while they have their periods.
Obama said that despite all these issues, the main point concerns attitudes and beliefs, as many around the world currently believe women should be valued for their bodies instead of their minds, and that they are unworthy of an education, reports Stav Ziv for Newsweek.
The first lady also announced she does not have plans to run for president, although she does have plans to help encourage change once she leaves the White House.
"There are so many ways to impact the world. You don't have to be president of the United States to do wonderful, marvelous things," Obama said at a panel discussion on empowering women at the festival, known as SXSW.
While the campaign has already raised awareness through efforts such as the hashtag #62milliongirls, meant to stand for the number of school-aged girls around the world who are not enrolled in classes, the recent announcement kicks off what Obama is referring to as the "action phase." The first lady is asking people to visit the website 62milliongirls.com "and pledge to take action to help girls worldwide go to school." A number of ways to help are listed on the site, including hosting a battle of the bands, leading a trivia competition, or even running a car wash or bake sale.
The song, from songwriter Diane Warren, is currently available for download. Warren has also written the Oscar-nominated Lady Gaga song "Til It Happens to You" and the Celine Dion hit, "Because You Loved Me."
All proceeds from the song will go toward the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. Created in 2015 by the Peace Corps and Michelle Obama, the program works toward helping young women gain a secondary education.
"It's kind of like âWe Are the World' meets âLady Marmalade' with these strong voices and strong women," Warren said. "When was the last time you heard a song like this or a record that had this many amazing divas on it? I'm really proud."
"We Are the World" was originally recorded in 1985 by a number of artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, and Cyndi Lauper. The song hoped to raise funding for the organization USA for Africa in an effort to combat poverty. Prior to that, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was recorded in 1984 to offer help for those suffering from hunger in Ethiopia by artists including Sting, Phil Collins, and U2 singer Bono, writes Molly Driscoll for The Christian Science Monitor.
"Christmas" raised almost $11.5 million in the year it was recorded, while USA for Africa ended up raising over $75 million.