All Articles Tagged "michelle obama"

Movie Review: The Barack And Michelle Movie, ‘Southside With You’

August 26th, 2016 - By Danielle Elaine
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Miramax

Miramax

“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.

southside

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.

Loan Officer Fired After Racist Tweet About The First Lady

July 29th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Loan Officer Fired After Racist Tweet About The First Lady

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.

Loan Officer Fired After Racist Tweet About The First Lady

Source: Twitter

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.

Loan Officer Fired After Racist Tweet About The First Lady

Source: Twitter

Thankfully, the company saw the tweets and moved quickly. Greenwood was fired and Home Point Loans issued this statement.

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.

Van Jones, Michelle Obama And The Necessary Death Of “Classic” Beauty

July 28th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Michelle Obama DNC

Image: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

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.

5 Times Michelle Obama Slayed Our Hearts At The DNC

July 26th, 2016 - By Quindara Lazenbury
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Last night’s Democratic National Convention speeches were inspiring and nonetheless impeccable. Senator Cory Booker fired through a mantra of “rising up” and standing up for justice, while the audience waited in anticipation for arguably the most important voice of the night, Michelle Obama. Before entering the stage, a video montage expressed the admiration our nation shares for FLOTUS and the impact she has had on our country. Because of her brilliance and elegance, Michelle Obama leaves a legacy of dedication, health, and living life freely that will forever remain in our hearts.

Here are the top five #slayagemoments from Michelle Obama’s DNC speech.

1. #HairwasLaid — Let’s begin with how flawless Michelle looked from the moment she steps on stage. The cerulean blue dress highlighted her mocha skin and the slightly pink lip effervescently brought a splash of dazzle and pop to her face. But the most dashing appeal to her DNC look was her hair! Freshly pressed and glistening before the masses. She never fails to impress.

 

2. She reminded us she is an awesome mom — Michelle spoke about her daughters and how amazing it felt to send them off to school when first moving to the White House. She did not, however, sugarcoat the fact that the White House is the same house that was built by slaves. She wants her daughters (and the world) to know and understand this legacy and recognize the strength of their ancestors. #goodparenting

 

3. She ‘Trumped’ Trump with class — Michelle does not disparage or degrade the presidential opposition (as blatantly seen in other spaces–ahem, the RNC), instead she imparted a general message on bullying, which was understood to be a jab at Trump and his party. “Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” Mrs. Obama knows how to rise above the foolishness. #blackexcellence

 

4. She reiterated the children are our future — This presidential race was filled with hostility and mud slinging to garner and possibly entertain the masses, but FLOTUS does not forget about the group who will be most affected by our next leader– our children. She stated, “[This] election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.” We have to protect the children, they are our future.

5. She proved we are the ‘United’ States for a reason — Due to the “Make America Great Again” propaganda, many have forgotten about the power and resilience this country had and still has. Michelle reminds us of that, saying, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.” #preach

 

We will miss the Obamas but especially the fabulous and most fierce, Michelle Obama.

 

Check out Michelle Obama’s speech below!

See Which Surprise Guest Joined Michelle Obama During Her Carpool Karaoke

July 21st, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Just yesterday, we reported about Michelle Obama teaming up with James Corden of “The Late Late Show” to participate in his most popular segment carpool karaoke. As you know, the segment features celebrities, and in this case, elected officials singing their favorite songs with Corden.

In the trailer, we saw the First Lady jam to her friend Beyoncé and our girl Missy Elliot.

Now that the actual full segment has been released. there’s also a surprise guest. See who it is.

Also during the segment, the First Lady explained why she joined Snapchat and her initiative “Let Girls Learn” which promotes female education across the world.

“I Do This For A Living” Tamron Hall Checks Scott Baio Over Support Of Donald Trump

July 20th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: MSNBC

Source: MSNBC

It is absolutely astounding the number of people who are willing to stand out and claim their allegiance for Republican nominee Donald Trump. One of those people is actor Scott Baio, best known for his role as Chichi Arcola in the popular series “Happy Days” and then the sitcom “Charles in Charge.”

I never thought much about Scott Baio but I am surprised and saddened to learn that he’s such an unprincipled man. Thankfully, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall called him out and questioned him on a few things, throwing his hypocrisy back into his face, during the Republican National Convention.

First, she asked him about an image he tweeted. It featured Hillary Clinton standing in front of the word “Count.” Whether the image was real or doctored, Clinton was positioned directly in front of the “O” sending a very clear message. Baio captioned the image: “This may be the best meme out there. #NeverHillary @realDonaldTrump.”  

Baio has come out trying to assert himself and Trump as men with morals, wanting to make America great again and restore the country’s moral barometer.

Hall asked him, “Did you think about that in church when you tweeted it out?”

Baio: “That’s just offered up without commentary.”

Hall: “Yeah but you know what it meant when you tweeted it out.”

Baio: “I just put it up there.”

Hall: I guess I’m asking—you’re writing your speech in church —you talk about religion coming back to this country and us having a moral barometer. Where was your moral compass when you put a photo of a woman— who you disagree with politically, and that’s fine…

Baio: Tamron you can look at that any way you want…There’s no commentary attached to it. I didn’t call her anything. And the fact that you question my faith because I put up a picture is not nice.

Hall: Well, you question other people’s faith. When you say we need to bring back religion, implying that somehow the moral compass of people you don’t know is fake.

Then Hall presented Baio with an unflattering picture he tweeted of Michelle Obama, where he captioned it, “Wow, he wakes up to this every morning.”

Tamron challenged him on this as well. “Does joking about a woman that way make America great again?”

Baio said he jokes about women yelling at their husbands. It’s his sense of humor as a boy from Brooklyn.

Hall: “I agree with you we should all want to be better people, to teach our children to be better people. But I see how this may or may not affect our divisiveness—there are White people here, Black people here—when we tweet things out that are so ugly and then we say, ‘Oh it was a joke.’”

Baio: “That had nothing to do with race.”

Hall: “I didn’t say that.”

Baio: “Yeah you did, you said Black people and White people were being divisive.”

Hall: “I said we’re all here together. Let me tell you something, I do this for a living. You can’t chop my words up.”

Baio had to back down at that point.

You can watch the entire exchange in the video below.

First Lady Michelle Obama Jams To Old School Missy Elliot In The Latest Carpool Karaoke Trailer

July 20th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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After bearing witness to the Republican National Convention’s interesting start Monday night, I’m sure we can all agree that we need some #blackjoy. Holding us down until she gives up her reign as First Lady, Michelle Obama appears in this fun, dance-worthy Late Late Show teaser with James Corden.

Featured in his popular Carpool Karaoke segment, First Lady Michelle Obama hops in Corden’s car and opens up about how long it’s been since she’s driven since she became the First Lady in 2008. Aside from her personal life, Aunty Chelle spoke about Malia learning how to drive while  bumping to old school Missy Elliot and Beyoncé with Corden.

Check out FLOTUS’ lit dance moves, below, especially when Single Ladies drops and be sure to check out her Carpool Karaoke episode tomorrow night.

 

Janelle Monáe & Kendrick Lamar To Perform At The White House Fourth Of July Celebration

July 3rd, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: WENN

Photo Credit: WENN

Tomorrow is set to be a grand day filled with celebratory fun as the nation observes Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July. But it’s safe to say that the most popping event is going down in our nation’s capital.

According to PoliticoPresident Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have booked two of their favorite artists, Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monáe, to play the official White House Independence Day barbecue. The annual event located on the South Lawn, honors military heroes and their families. In addition, there will be a fireworks viewing where “white House staff and their families from throughout the administration will also attend,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed to reporters Friday.

 

Back in December, Obama divulged that Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly’s “How Much a Dollar Cost” was one of his favorite songs of 2015. The POTUS also invited Lamar to the Oval Office months later to promote the Pay It Forward program, which encourages the mentoring of inner city youth.

Monáe is also no stranger to the White House, having previously recorded a track for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” and attended an April summit to talk about criminal justice reform with various artists.

Needless to say, we’d all love to attend this Fourth of July bash, right?

Look Who’s On Snapchat!

June 21st, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Michelle Obama Joins Snapchat!

Source: Snapchat

Snapchat used to be regarded as the app for horny teenagers looking to send each other nudes. And while I’m sure that’s still the case in some circles, (looking at you Yo Gotti), it’s becoming increasingly popular with the older crowd, myself included.

But today, the addition of one member has the internets talking.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined the app today, looking fabulous in the first image she uploaded.

In the first video of her story, FLOTUS told us it was going to be a busy day. The two young boys who created the Running Man Challenge performed it at the White House before they played a game of “5 Second Rule” with Mrs. Obama.

Then late night host James Corden announced that he would be filming another edition of Carpool Karaoke with FLOTUS.

This is what she’s already posted today. We’ll be excited to see what else she’s got going on. And while there’s a good chance this account will only be active during the rest of her tenure in the White House, I really hope she decides to keep it going after she leaves.

You can follow Mrs. Obama on Snapchat at MichelleObama.

Who Run The World? The Highlights From The United States Of Women Summit

June 15th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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The Highlights From The United States Of Women Summit

Source: AP Images

Yesterday, in our nation’s capital, women took center stage as the White House hosted their first ever United States of Women Summit. Women like senior advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, actress Amy Poehler, actress Kerry Washington, Oprah and so many more converged at the summit to speak about everything women.

There were so many highlights from the all day event. And the White House even posted a video of the entire thing. But since many of us are at work and don’t have all that extra time, here are a few of the highlights.

First, our little favorite Mikaila Ulmer, the 11-year-old founder of “Me & the Bees Lemonade” spoke about dreams and entrepreneurship before she introduced President Obama. She offered a bit of advice for all of us. “Only a kid would think you could change the world with a lemonade stand…My advice to anyone who’s looking to start a business, Be Fearless, believe in the impossible and dream like a kid.”

When President Obama took the podium, he commended Mikaila saying:

“I was just told backstage, when she was asked to introduce me, there were some folks who were organizing this amazing event that said, is she going to feel a little nervous speaking in front of 5,000 people?  And so they asked her and she said, oh, no, I just spoke to 11,000 last week.  (Laughter and applause.)  So we were looking backstage — she was on her tippy-toes with her entrepreneurial self.  (Laughter.)”

The little girl is not only a bawse, she’s an inspiration.

As for President Obama, he started by letting the room know where he stands. “I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like.” speaking about one of the most recent milestones in his life, watching his eldest daughter Malia Obama graduate from high school.

“Some of you may know that on Friday, my older daughter Malia graduated from high school.  (Applause.)  And I sat in the back and wore dark glasses.  (Laughter.)  And only cried once, but it was — I made this weird sound because I was choking back — (makes crying sound) — (laughter) — and people looked at me, people sitting in front of us turned back.  And then I suppressed it.  (Laughter.)  But I was thinking about how she is graduating at this extraordinary time for women in America.”

He went on to list the road we’ve traveled and how far we’ve come, including women’s college enrollment, the availability of birth control and how his Affordable Care Act has made birth control free. But he also talked about the progress we have yet to make, saying:

“We need equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  We need paid family and sick leave.  (Applause.)  We need affordable child care.  We’ve got to raise the minimum wage.  (Applause.)  If we’re truly a nation of family values, we wouldn’t put up with the fact that many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth.  (Applause.)  We should guarantee paid maternity leave and paid paternity leave, too.  That’s how you value families.  (Applause.)  That’s how employers retain great workers.  And it’s good for women — because when childcare falls disproportionately on mothers, as it often does, it makes it that much harder to advance in their careers.”

Then he got to the tougher work of changing our minds.

“We’re going to have to be honest with ourselves.  We’re going to have to change something else.  We’re going to have to change the way we see ourselves.  And this is happening already, but I want us to be more intentional about it.  I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but we’re still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave.

As the great Shirley Chisholm once said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begin when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’”  (Applause.)  And that has consequences for all of us, whether we’re men or women, black, white, gay, straight, transgender or otherwise.

We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure, and our boys to be assertive; that criticizes our daughters for speaking out, and our sons for shedding a tear.

We need to change the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality but gives men a pat on the back for theirs.  (Applause.)  We need to change an Internet where women are routinely harassed and threatened when they go online.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, penalizes working moms.  (Applause.)
We need to keep changing the attitude that prioritizes being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace — unless you’re a woman.  (Applause.)

He made a point to speak to the girls and women of color.

“We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color.  (Applause.)  About how they look, about how they feel, about what they should or should not do.  (Applause.)  Michelle will talk about this in a little bit.  She’s talked about this.  Despite her extraordinary achievements and success, the fact that she is — she is an American original, she is unique, but she still had times where she’s had doubts, where she’s had to worry whether she was acting the right way or looking the right way, or whether she was being too assertive or too angry.  You remember that?”

I particularly enjoyed the moment where he shouted out Harriet Tubman being placed on the new money and other Black women who’ve shaped our country.

But our country is not just all about the Benjamins — it’s about the Tubmans, too.  (Applause.)  We need all our young people to know that Clara Barton and Lucretia Mott and Sojourner Truth and Eleanor Roosevelt and Dorothy Height, those aren’t just for Women’s History Month.  They’re the authors of our history, women who shaped their destiny.  They need to know that.  (Applause.)

You can watch President Obama’s full speech in the video below.

As President Obama mentioned in the opening remarks of his speech, most of the attendees were there to see Michelle and Oprah. The two women sat down for a nearly 45 minute interview. Oprah started the conversation asking about the importance of loving yourself and the pressure of living up to other’s people’s expectations.

“One of the things that I always tell my mentees, I tell my daughters is that our first job in life as women, I think, is to get to know ourselves. And a lot of times, we don’t do that. We spend our time pleasing, satisfying, looking out into the world to define who we are, listening to the messages, the images, the limited definitions that people have of who we are. And that’s true for women of color, for sure. There’s a limited box that we are put in and if we live by that limited definition, we miss out on a lot of who we are…So for me, I came into this with a pretty clear sense of myself. So when I hear the smack talking from outside the world, it’s easy to sort of brush that off because I know who I am.”

Later she said,

“I knew that I would have to define this role, very uniquely and specifically to me and who I was. So I came in thinking about who I wanted to be in this position and who I needed to be for my girls first of all. You remember, Malia and Sasha were little, itty bitties, when we came into office.  It still moves me to tears to think about the first day I put them in the car, with their secret service agents, to go to their first day of school. And I saw them leaving and I thought, ‘What on earth am I doing to these babies?’ So I knew right then and there my first job was to make sure that they were going to be whole and normal and cared for in the midst of all this craziness. And then I started to understand that if I was going to protect them, I had to number one protect myself and protect my time…One of the things I realized is that if you do not take control of your time and your life, other people will gobble it up.”

When Oprah said she’s never heard men say ‘I just don’t have the time,’ Michelle responded, ‘You know why? Because they don’t have to balance anything. Sorry. I hope that that is changing but so many men don’t have to do it all.”

To that point, later in the conversation Mrs. Obama offered some advice to men: Be better.

“Be better at everything. Be better fathers,” she said during a conversation with one-time talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. “Just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me…”Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Be better. Just be better. I could go on, but I’m not. You get the point, fellas.”

She also spoke about the advantage of having good parents but offered some words of encouragement for those who didn’t have them.

“But if you don’t have that parent, that mother, that father, then you got to find it. They’re out there. There is somebody out there who loves you and is waiting to love you. And that means you have to make room for them. And if you’re surrounded by a bunch of low life folks who aren’t supporting you, then there is no room for people that do love you.”

You can watch the full interview in the video below. It’s chock full of gems.