Thank You, First Lady Michelle Obama: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie & Others Write Thank You Letters To Mrs. Obama
As we get closer to Election Day, many of us have begun to grieve a White House that won’t be occupied by a Black family but more specifically won’t have the grace and tact that the Obamas conveyed during the last eight years. First Lady Michelle Obama, the matriarch of their beloved family has always left us in awe and to honor her untouchable intelligence, poise and wisdom, The New York Times Style Magazine had Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gloria Steinem, Jon Meacham and Rashida Jones write thank you letters to the First Lady expressing what made her set a part from the other first ladies.
Here are excerpts of what they had to say:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
“Michelle Obama was speaking. I felt protective because she was speaking to an America often too quick to read a Black woman’s confidence as arrogance. Her straightforwardness as entitlement. She was informal, colloquial, her sentences bookended with by the word “see,” a conversational fillip that also strangely felt like a mark of authenticity. She seemed genuine. She was genuine. All over America, black women were still, their eyes watching a form of God, because she represented their image writ large in the world.”
“She really entered my imagination once she became first lady, a tall, strong, elegant and seriously smart woman who happened to live in the White House. She managed to convey dignity and humor at the same time, to be a mother of two daughters and insist on regular family dinners, and to take on health issues and a national food industry addicted to unhealthy profits. She did this despite an undertow of bias in this country that subtly questioned everything she did. Was she too strong, physically and intelligently, to be a proper first lady?”
“There, in a way, was the essential Michelle Obama, or at least the essential observable version of herself: speaking of broad public good (the garden, which was part of her campaign against childhood obesity) while revealing an arch sense of competitiveness. My husband won; he won twice. As their history-making time in the White House comes to an end, it’s worth pondering the lessons of the Age of Obama. My own view is that both the president and the first lady have conducted themselves splendidly in the White House, managing the most difficult of tasks with apparent ease: projecting a grace that masked the ambition and the drive that took them, at early ages, to the pinnacle of American life.”
“All women struggle to reconcile the different people that we are at all times, to merge our conflicting desires, to represent ourselves honestly and feel good about the inherent contradictions. But Michelle manages to do this with poise, regardless of the scrutiny. That, to me, is the best thing for feminism. Her individual choices force us to accept that being a woman isn’t just one thing. Or two things. Or three things. The position of first lady is, unfortunately, symbolic, and that makes it fair game for media analysis ad nauseam. But no think piece can fully encompass a real woman.”
Sigh, these passages were incredibly touching and filled with nostalgic moments.
Read the sum of these passages here.