Spelling is hard, even for the president. In a funny moment on Mar. 6, the Head of State tried to pay tribute to soul goddess Aretha Franklin, but he couldn’t even get her famous seven-letter word right! Watch the clip below.
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” — it’s a line that pretty much every American has engrained into their minds thanks to Aretha Franklin. But despite the song being massively famous, and the fact that “respect” is a relatively easy word to spell, President Barack Obama managed to trip over it in a hilarious moment during a special Women of Soul tribute at the White House on Mar. 6.
President Obama Misspells Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’
He left out one important letter in his tribute to Aretha. “When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her,” Obama said, causing the crowd to let out a laugh, “she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women and anyone else who felt marginalized because of what they looked like, who they loved. They wanted some respect.”
Though the sentiment was thoughtful and spot-on, really all anyone was talking about was the president’s massive misspell. He’s the leader of the free world, and he can’t even spell respect right!? Even after Aretha has sung it out so many times!?
Thankfully, the error didn’t ruin a beautiful night. Aretha — not insulted by the mistake — went on to sing her 1967 hit “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” and the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace.” Melissa Etheridge, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, and Janelle Monae also performed at the tribute.
You can catch Obama’s flub below, and then watch the entire Women of Soul tribute when it airs on PBS on Apr. 7.
WATCH: Obama Can’t Get No ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’
— Andrew Gruttadaro