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Usher to perform at White House gala

Usher is set to perform at the White House as part of a celebration of the arts.

The pop singer leads the star-studded line-up for the In Performance at the White House show, which marks 50 years since the introduction of legislation to safeguard the arts and offer state funding to important projects.


James Taylor, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, and Trombone Shorty are also among the performers who will take to the stage at the Washington, D.C. home of President Barack Obama.


The show will feature special readings by actress/comedienne Carol Burnett, and it will be broadcast in January (16).


First Lady Michelle Obama plans to host a workshop for schoolchildren prior to the show, with Robinson among those due to take part.


The concert news comes after the president waded into the debate over Kanye West's plan to run for America's top job in 2020, poking fun at the hip-hop star during a fundraising event in California.


Obama rebranded the rapper "Peezy" and gave out tips for his presidential bid, including a cheeky reference to his own upbringing in Chicago.


He said, "First of all, you have to spend some time dealing with some strange characters who act like they're on a reality TV show. You gotta be cool with that... Second important tip: Saying you have a 'beautiful dark twisted fantasy' - that's what's known as 'off message' in politics. People have lost their congressional seats saying things like that...


"And number three: Do you really think this country's going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be president of the U.S.? That's crazy. That's cray (sic)."