DJ Rekha's Bhangra enthralls Obama


Prime VIP
A stunning Bhangra performance by Indian-American DJ Rekha enthralled the US President Barack Obama and his guests at the White House who have gathered to celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Credited with pioneering Bhangra in North America, the London-born musician, DJ, producer, curator and activist, now living in Brooklyn in New York, DJ Rekha (born Rekha Malhotra) was especially praised by Obama when he addressed eminent members of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders community at the White House Monday evening.

"I want to thank DJ Rekha who's been spinning a little East Room Bhangra for everybody mixing a hip-hop beat with the sounds of her heritage; making a uniquely American sound that may not have been heard in the White House before," Obama said amidst laughter and applause.

East Room is the largest room in the White House used by the US President for entertaining, press conferences, ceremonies and for a large dinner.

Several eminent Indian-Americans were invited on the occasions, including Rajan Zed from Nevada, and those in his administration.

The young Sikhs who recently joined the US Army were also invited at the White House function.

"We draw strength from the rich tradition that everybody can call America home because we all came from somewhere else except for the first Americans.

"E pluribus unum." Out of many, one. And there's no better example of this than the communities that are represented in this room," Obama said.

"Your role in America's story has not always been given its due. Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have known tremendous unfairness and injustice during our history," Obama said.

The US President said generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders helped to build this country, defend this country, and make America what it is today.

From the Chinese labourers who scaled cliffs and laid ties to connect our coasts by rail, to the members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who fought and bled overseas while their families were interned back home; from the hundreds of thousands who bore hardship and sacrifice on the journey to Angel Island a century ago, to the more than 16 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders whose talents and efforts strengthen the country's economy, protect its security and enliven the communities each and every day.

"And obviously this is personal for me, since you need to look no further than my family - my sister Maya, and brother-in-law Konrad, and my two mischievous nieces - Suhaila and Savita - to know that it is part of America's past but is also going to be part of America's future," Obama said.

"And for this reason, we are here today to celebrate these contributions. But we're also holding this event because I want to make sure that we are hearing from you so that the government does its part on your behalf, just as you're doing your part on America's behalf," he said.

"That's why we're always welcoming your input: from meetings with Sikh Americans to Native Hawaiians.

The goal is to make sure that our government is successfully working to address disparities in health care, in education, and economic opportunity that exists within various AAPI communities," he said.