All Articles Tagged "michelle obama"
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.
One of these days, folks are gonna realize that the world — including social media — are always watching. A fact that a Georgia teacher wished she would have been aware before she popped off on Facebook about First Lady Michelle Obama.
According to CBS News, officials with a Georgia school district have fired employee Jane Wood Allen after she described FLOTUS as a gorilla on Facebook. On Monday, Forsyth County Schools issued a statement saying, “Effective Monday, Oct. 3, Jane Wood Allen has been relieved from duty and is no longer an employee of Forsyth County Schools.”
“Racism and discrimination are not tolerated in our school district. We are committed to ongoing staff training on the acceptance of all individuals,” they continued.
Read more about the repercussions this teacher faced at HelloBeautiful.com
Last night, First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night Tuesday to promote her Let Girls Learn program. But of course, Colbert wanted to speak with the First Lady about a more “pressing” issue—Melania Trump’s plagiarized 2016 Republican National Convention’s speech which featured extensive excerpts from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech.
Colbert first asked: “The campaign is going on right now. The two candidates out there who have their own agenda. And their spouses sort of have to go along with whatever this person is doing. Do you have any sympathy with the people who have to go there and stand by the person running for president?”
And with the utmost grace and tact, the First Lady responded, “Uh, no, not really. No, because you have to be in it if you’re in it, and if you don’t agree you should have agreed before they ran. Bottom line is, if I didn’t agree with what Barack was saying, I would not support his run. So…I stand there proudly, and I hope they are too. Standing with their spouses proudly. No Sympathy!”
After stating she offers no sympathy to the spouses who feel obliged to support their significant others who are campaigning, Colbert then asked, specifically, if Michelle had any sympathy for Melania Trump. To that she smiled, as Colbert continued to explain that he and other people felt sorry for Melania not being aware of her speechwriters’ plagiarism.
“Yeah, that was tough,” the First Lady said, succinctly.
After taking no prisoners with such class, the First Lady spoke about the work she and many others have done over the years to help promote education and empowerment for girls by noting, “We have to be on the ground. You can’t change culture if you’re not a part of the culture.”
Dropping inspiring bars, as usual.
Watch Auntie Chelle’s full video, below.
“I’m Proud Of Them”: Michelle Obama Happy First Daughters Leaving White House “Whole” After Public Scrutiny
In what seems to be her last interview with Ellen DeGeneres, First Lady Michelle Obama chatted with her friend about how Malia and Sasha are prepping themselves for life after the White House, how they’ve dealt with all the eyes on them, and the pressures Michelle faced being First Lady through these last eight years.
When asked what she will miss most about her time on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the First Lady said it would be the people in the White House who’ve helped to shape her experience.
“It’s really the people,” she said. “Think about it: The girls have grown up in the White House. The staff that’s there, we see them every day. These are people who have helped us raise our kids. They’ve loved us. They’ve taken care of us. The minute we leave, that’s it.”
She would go on to say that while the girls seem to be ready to leave, Michelle believes that they’ll have a hard time saying goodbye to all they’ve known for the last eight years.
“I’m sure the girls will have a tough time. They think they’re ready,” she said. “But when you’ve grown up in a place, imagine, they won’t just be able to knock on the door and say, ‘Can I see my room?’ That’s not going to happen. So we’re trying to have them step back and really appreciate the walk on the South Lawn, sitting on the Truman balcony. We just want to keep creating some memories for them as well.”
The First Lady also applauded her daughters for the way they’ve handled all the changes, the spotlight, even the scrutiny. Her hope for them was to just walk away from their time as the First Daughters happy and healthy young ladies, and they’ve dealt with everything even better than she expected.
“I’m proud of them. They’ve really managed this so well,” she said. “I just love them to death. And the big thing I always worried about is making sure that they got out of this whole. I’m just proud that they’re poised, smart, intelligent women.”
As for herself, Michelle said she was reluctant to enter the spotlight as First Lady, but ended up valuing her role, the influence her family has on the next generation, and the everyday Americans she was able to come into contact with. Her experiences restored her faith in the future of this country.
“One of the things I know from sitting in this position is that every First Lady feels some level of pressure,” the First Lady said. “This is a big platform and you don’t want to mess it up. So I wouldn’t dare to compare my experience to any former First Lady, but I do take the role seriously. As I said in my convention speech, I know kids are watching us. They’re watching what we say, what we do. Barack and I have tried to make sure that what kids are seeing is something they can be proud of, because it matters.”
She continued: “It’s been an honor. I wasn’t the political spouse. I was very hesitant about this, but it’s truly been an honor to serve. To travel this country, to meet so many great people, I have so much hope for this nation. I hope that everybody else does, too. We have some great young people, we’ve got great communities, I just wish everyone had the opportunity to travel the country like we have had because you would feel every good every day about where we live. This is the best country on earth.”
“It Matters.” Michelle Obama Talks Importance Of Black Children Seeing First Family In The White House
Every image of the Obamas these days is bittersweet. We know we’re looking at some of the last moments of this historic presidency. I had one of those moments when Essence unveiled their October cover featuring the first couple. In the excerpts from the article, the magazine claimed to want to send these two off with a hug and a salute. And inside, the Obamas spoke about life in the White House, what they’ll do afterward and the legacy they hope to leave behind.
President Obama, big-upping himself a bit, said, “…I can unequivocally say that America is better off now than we were when we came into office. By almost every economic measure, we’re better off. But having said that, we still have a lot of work to do.”
Inside the book, there’s this incredibly sweet picture of the first couple looking, lovingly, at each other.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Michelle is filling out this dress in all the right places. One of my Instagram friends noted last night that we might not have noticed this particular curve because they’ve styled her in A-line dresses for so long. But I’m happy to see those “Let’s Move” squats have been paying off.
And Mrs. Obama spoke about the legacy of visibility she hopes to leave for Black children.
“I think when it comes to Black kids, it means something for them to have spent most of their life seeing the family in the White House look like them,” Mrs. Obama said. “It matters. All the future work that Barack talked about, I think over these last few years, we’ve kind of knocked the ceiling of limitation off the roofs of many young kids; imaginations of what’s possible for them. And as a mother, I wouldn’t underestimate how important that is, having that vision that you can really do anything—not because somebody told you, but because you’ve seen and experienced it. I think that will be a lasting impact on our kids.”
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.”
Back in March, President Barack and Michelle Obama visited the vastly growing SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, speaking on topics that ranged from education to civic engagement to creative thinking and entrepreneurship.
Apparently, the festival inspired the dynamic duo so much that the Obama administration has teamed up with SXSW to create ” ‘South By South Lawn,” a smaller-scale edition of the festival. Location? The White House, of course. A one-day event scheduled for Oct. 3, there will be a panel of discussions, short student films and live performances, running in the same vein of the festival’s Interactive, Film and Music components, NPR reports.
In a statement from the White House, SXSL will “bring together creators, innovators, and organizers who work day in and day out to improve the lives of their fellow Americans and people around the world.”
As far as entry goes, there’s a nomination ballot where individuals can nominate themselves or someone they know that’s creating change—big or small—in their community.
Get all the details here.
Most of us are aware of the new romantic dramedy, Southside with You. It stars Tika Sumpter as a young Michelle Robinson and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama. The film, written and directed by Richard Tanne, chronicles the couple’s first date. It’s an adorable movie that led me to think about five things we might be able to take away for ourselves when it comes to first dates, all from watching the very beginning of this iconic couple’s relationship.
1. Attraction can be subtle.
In the beginning of the movie, we watch a fictional Michelle get ready for her day with Barack. She lotions and powders and picks at her hair, all while claiming she isn’t interested in the man she’s about to meet up with. It so subtle, but these small gestures might indicate that there’s a bit more attraction there than we’d like to admit to ourselves. Pay attention.
2. First dates can be awkward.
What I loved about Southside with You was the way the couple spoke about things that were both deeply personal as well as cultural/societal. This felt so reminiscent of my own first dates. But those conversations also included the awkward moments, disagreements, and even silence that comes with learning about one another. That’s okay. If you let awkwardness be an acceptable feeling, it frees you up to discover other more interesting feelings (like chemistry). A little bit of awkwardness is a good sign.
3. First dates are great; sober dates are amazing.
It’s easy to meet up for drinks, have too many, and find the hours go by quickly. With every beverage, your lips might get looser, and your laugh might get a bit louder. Though drinking dates are super fun and can result in lifelong relationships, it’s far more telling when you lose track of time on a date while you’re completely sober. I’m not a mathematician, but I think a two-hour sober date is the equivalent of a four-hour date during happy hour, and you can remember everything that happened the next morning.
4. It’s okay to be unconvinced.
One of my favorite things about Southside with You is that fictional Michelle was pretty unimpressed with the future president throughout the movie. She even called him out when he seemed to be posturing and jockeying for her affections. So often, we’re told to bite our tongues, laugh when the joke isn’t funny, and tuck less agreeable parts of ourselves away to snag a man. I believe the right man reveals himself in time. You don’t have to be convinced of anything after the first date except for whether or not you’re looking for a second date, and you’re allowed to be honest about your reservations.
5. Shirk the rules if it feels right.
We have rules about kissing. We have rules about texting first, staying too long, and being too vulnerable. Those rules keep us safe, but sometimes they limit how open we might be to something real. If it feels right, lean in for the kiss. If you think it’s worth it, send the first text, or share the vulnerable story. In the case of Michelle and Barack, you never know where it could lead…
Patia Braithwaite is a freelance writer based in New York City. To hear more about her first dates: www.menmyselfandgod.com. She Tweets and ‘Grams occasionally @pdotbrathw8
“Southside With You” is a delicate and endearing tale of America’s greatest love story. That was my initial thought as I watched the short film of future President Barack Obama and Michelle’s (then Robinson) first date unfold before me. After a few days of sitting with the movie, replaying scenes in my mind, and talking it over with friends, my original feelings of nostalgia, and endearment started to wain.
Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama and Parker Sawyer as President Barack Obama uncannily recount a love story that would later become historical. The film was a great illustration of the dynamic of their relationship, and how pivotal Michelle’s role in young Barack’s life would be. Through the film, viewers will gain a deeper understanding for the people we have come to know as POTUS and FLOTUS. This amazing depiction of the blossoming of the Obamas’ friendship and love is the essence of Black love.
Michelle’s tenacity and wisdom were life-changing catalysts for Obama. She gave him a new outlook on life, and most importantly, inspired him to resolve his issues with his father. In resolving his resentment, Barack was able to turn a more compassionate eye to others, as well as elicit a deeper understanding for himself. Barack’s romantic–and unyielding–pursuit of Michelle was charming to watch unfold.
Sawyer authentically portrayed what can now be described as destiny, however, Tika may have slightly overacted. During several scenes Tika seemed to give Michelle that “angry Black woman against the world” feel. While Barack was relentless in his attempt to woo Michelle, she wanted to make it clear they were, and would be, nothing more than colleagues.
The length of the movie, a mere 82 minutes, and I was disappointed only because I wanted more.
As we have come to know, Barack eventually won Michelle’s affections. In addition to insight on the presidential couple’s personal background, viewers will also get a chance to see behind the curtain of third person view, as to what ignited the Obamas’ political tastes. Overall, the film is a great look into the makings of history’s most notable couples of our time.
Michelle Obama shook things up with her impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention earlier this week. And while most people applauded her for encouraging decency, for speaking about the power and evolution of this nation, there were a few people who didn’t appreciate the message…or the messenger.
Particularly Lisa Greenwood, a woman in Anne Arbor, Michigan, who took to Twitter not to criticize the speech, but the First Lady’s appearance.
I don’t know why people believe their social media actions and opinions exist in a bubble. They do not. And since Lisa used her government name on her Twitter account, it wasn’t long before other Twitter users were able to find her Facebook page and the name of the company she worked for Home Point Loans.
From there it was all downhill for Greenwood. Twitter users began tweeting the loan company asking them if this employee’s thoughts represented their company’s values.
Thankfully, the company saw the tweets and moved quickly. Greenwood was fired and Home Point Loans issued this statement.
See Below for Full Statement: pic.twitter.com/aa8tFXC0av
— Home Point Financial (@HomePointLoans) July 26, 2016
The individual who made reprehensible comments regarding last night’s speech by the First Lady is no longer employed with Home Point Financial. Home Point Financial does not agree with nor condone such comments, which were made on the individual’s Twitter account. We hold true to our We Care philosophy-our responsibilities extend beyond the workplace and into our communities.
Good for them with the red tape and discrimination that already exists in the banking and loan industries, there is absolutely no room for someone with beliefs like the ones Greenwood holds.
Wondering when people will learn that broadcasting their racism on social media just doesn’t pay off.
Granted, he was all verklempt and filled with pride, as many of us were while watching First Lady Michelle Obama deliver her powerful Democratic National Convention speech this week, but CNN commentator and former White House environmental adviser Van Jones made an on-air statement regarding FLOTUS that didn’t sit well with some of the network’s viewers. When CNN anchor Anderson Cooper noted that Jones was crying during Obama’s speech, Jones responded with this: “Well I mean, first of all, if you weren’t moved by that, go see the doctor. I mean, every American has to appreciate what it means for a woman like her to have grown up in Chicago, dark skinned, not particular — you know, not the classically, you know, beautiful woman according to the theme of that time.”
You guessed it – it was Jones’s classically beautiful comment that garnered backlash. Jones took to Twitter to clarify his remarks writing, “Maybe [my words] didn’t come out right,” and “Of course, First Lady is classically beautiful! I meant how our dark skinned sisters were dissed generations ago.”
Now unless I missed something, dark-skinned women are still treated as though they’re at the bottom of the beauty standard totem pole. Just ask comedian Leslie Jones, who was recently accosted by racist trolls, so much so that she temporarily deleted her Twitter account. Or ask Viola Davis, who in 2014 was described as “less classically beautiful” in comparison to her fairer-skinned Black contemporaries by New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley. In that same article, Stanley also described Shonda Rhimes as an angry Black woman, the stereotypical label that seems to follow Black women everywhere we go, no matter what we do. Better yet, hold a mic up to Lil Kim, Azealia Banks and other Black women who have lightened their skin because they believed the lies they were told about their respective hues and inherent beauty. I could go on, but let me stop there.
Have we made significant gains when it comes to acknowledging and celebrating Black beauty, and in turn, widening the narrow spectrum in which beauty still seems to be defined? Absolutely, but we still have a long way to go. And let’s not forget that racists didn’t refrain from spewing their hateful vitriol just because Michelle Obama stepped foot in the White House. Quite the contrary. Jones’s “generations ago” comment is about as inaccurate as the debunked myth that we live in a post-racial America, but that’s not what I’m ultimately concerned about.
While Jones meant no harm by saying what he did, the attention he’s received should be redirected towards an effort to altogether abandon the term “classically beautiful.” Let’s face it: “Classically beautiful” was never inclusive and never used to describe Black women. In the eyes of the Eurocentric beauty beholder, our hair is too nappy, our noses too wide, our lips too full – but nothing short of spectacular on women of lighter hues – and our skin too dark. To think, these hurtful fallacies that regard our bodies as less than, unfeminine, undesirable and somehow inhuman only describe Black women from the neck up. Even more has been said about our various shapes and curves, our supposedly freakishly large derrieres (Saartjie Baartman, anyone?). But throw that a– on a White woman and suddenly it’s appealing and sexy as all get out.
Our features have been used to label us as promiscuous deviants unworthy of love but deserving – in fact, welcoming of sexual harm and battery. Our features were and continue to be offensive to the palette that utilizes scientific racism (the same racism used to declare Black people unintelligent, incapable, genetically prone to violence, etc.), mathematics and methods from an era long past of painters, sculptors and other artists intent on creating the perfect piece of art to define beauty. Perfection, of course, being an impossible ideal. And yet, here we are, using imperfect reasoning to define something as expansive as a woman’s physical beauty.
The term “classically beautiful” has nothing to do with a woman being timeless or effortless, for that matter. It is a narrow, sealed box; limiting, damaging and not at all reflective of where we say we want to be. Beauty exists in a spectrum that’s much wider than White, so let’s refrain from using an outdated term that never included Black women to begin with, and holds us back instead of moving us forward.