All Articles Tagged "michelle obama"
We’ve known for some time that First Lady Michelle Obama is no joke. She’s not here for the foolishness. And though she often portrays the image of a dutiful wife, poised first lady and super mom, she’s also a woman. A woman with a full range of emotions that sometimes make their debut on her face. And it looks like today was one of those days. I’m not trying to start any trouble. I highly doubt that the Obama marriage is struggling or even that there was tension in this moment. (Anything could have contributed to that side eye.) I’m just saying it definitely looks like somebody was less than pleased.
So, all in good fun, caption this series of pictures of Michelle Obama side eyeing the president.
And on a more serious note, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to President Obama’s remarks on Nelson Mandela at his memorial, you can watch and listen to the full, moving speech in the video below.
As the world mourns and celebrates the life and legacy of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, some of our favorite celebrities have reflected on time they spent with the anti-apartheid leader and what his presence in their lives meant to them. We also found a few touching images of celebrities with Mandela that we thought we’d share.
We will forever draw strength and inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness, and humility. -mo
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about Politico writer, Michelle Cottle, who called First Lady, Michelle Obama “a feminist nightmare.” Essentially, she said that despite Mrs. Obama’s Ivy League education, she has chosen not to speak about hard-hitting issues but instead has taken on causes like healthy eating, staying active, education and being a mom-in-chief to her daughters. And Cottle was disappointed in her for that. Of course she’s entitled to her feelings but she was wrong as rain and several people let Politico know that this wasn’t cool.
Most notably, Melissa Harris Perry addressed the article on her show on MSNBC. In one of her now famous open letters, she told Ms. Cottle that taking on the issue of childhood obesity is not “fluff.” She continued that Michelle Obama exercising her choice as a woman to be a mom-in-chief to her own daughters is also rejecting the stereotype of Mammy so often thrust upon black women. And Harris-Perry ended the letter by offering Cottle a syllabus on black women and our feminism.
Reading the letter initially, I thought Harris-Perry was being sarcastic about providing an actual syllabus. But whether it was the demand for an actual list from others or if she really wanted to school Cottle, she did provide what’s now being called “The Black Feminism Syllabus.”
The list includes works like:
- bell hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
- Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment
- Harris Perry’s own Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America
- Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Definitely some pieces you should add to the reading list when you get a chance. After reading Harris-Perry’s list, are there other books you feel belong on this syllabus? Feel free to share them in the comments section.
Well, it took almost the entire year, but we were finally able to see President and Mrs. Obama in their first joint interview of 2013.
First of all, can we just discuss how without even speaking, you can see the love they have for one another? It’s clearly one that you don’t ever have to question, it’s right in your face. That’s one of the things people love about President and Mrs. Obama. Barbara Walters, who conducted the interview during a segment on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, acknowledged it and also asked if it ever gets a little more intense than these happy moments:
Both: Yeah. Absolutely. We’re married.
Mrs. Obama: We’ve been married for — I mean, we’re married. Do you go through the list of things that irritate us about each other?
President Obama: That’s the nature of marriage. You have to respect each other. You have to like each other. You have to be honest with each other. But it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. And there’s some work involved. And there should be work. And — there are gonna be tensions.
They also talked about their daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they continue to try and make sure they have normal lives even though they’re in such a public view. If you can believe it, Malia, 15, is old enough to date! Walters asked if Malia actually dates but the Obamas quickly shut that question down:
Mrs. Obama: Oh we’re not gonna — we’re not gonna talk about that.
Pres. Obama: We’re not gonna put her business out there.
Mrs. Obama: She does what every — every normal teenager does. You know, we think about not just her life here, but her life after. Because she’s gotta be an independent, strong, smart, capable woman in the world. So, she has to get her training now.
Mrs. Obama added that in terms of social media, the girls are very limited in their usage. Because she’s older, Malia is allowed to use it some but Sasha, only 13, is not allowed to be on social media.
In terms of business, both President and Mrs. Obama say that his low approval ratings are part of the job and people won’t like everything he does. Now, Barbara took it further asking if he thought Mrs. Obama would have made a better President and based on Mrs. Obama’s semi-laugh and facial expressions, Barbara really tried it with that question. President Obama took the political route by saying she would have, but Mrs. Obama quickly refused that one:
Mrs. Obama: I absolutely don’t agree. You know, he has a level of patience and — and focus — and tenacity and calm, you know, that just doesn’t come by anyone. I definitely don’t have that patience.
Finally, one of the big questions is what will they do once his second term is over. Will Pres. Obama continue in politics?
Mrs. Obama: That’s a no.
Pres. Obama: I think it’s fair to say that I’ve run my last campaign. I won’t be in another elected office. Will I continue to care deeply about issues we are working on? Absolutely.
They both agree that where they will live will be decided, in large part, by what Sasha wants to do. Malia will be in college, but Sasha will only be a sophomore in high school so they want to make sure she’s good.
You can check out more of the interview here.
From The Grio
First lady Michelle Obama has shared her family’s favorite holiday traditions with Ladies’ Home Journal for this month’s cover story.
In a piece called Christmas at the White House, Mrs. Obama reveals the holiday tunes and cooking activities she and her closest loved ones enjoy to make the season bright.
“The sounds of Christmas in the Obama White House mean James Taylor, Mariah Carey and Nat King Cole,” reports New York’s Daily News about how America’s Mom-in-Chief sets a seasonal mood.
Christmas at the White House is certainly a grand experience compared to Michelle Obama’s humble holidays with her mother, father and brother growing up in the South Side of Chicago. Even though they were of working class means, Christmas was enriched through her mother’s loving attentiveness.
“Christmas has always been a special time in my household. Growing up, we lived in a little-bitty apartment, but my mom put her heart and soul into decorating that house,” she remembers. “She would take cardboard and make a chimney over our radiator because she wanted us to feel like we had something for Santa Claus to come down.”
In addition to sharing personal family memories, the first lady dazzles in the photo shoot accompanying the piece in a golden brocade dress that shows off her amazing arms.
“Can you say gorgeous?!” opined the Mrs. O blog about the festive garment. To reference President Obama‘s first campaign slogan: Yes, we can!
Read more at TheGrio.com
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
The first couple has dealt with their share of backlash since President Barack Obama took office back in 2009 and apparently, this will only continue. In a piece for the November 21st issue of Politico magazine, titled “Leaning Out,” writer Michelle Cottle calls the First Lady out as a “feminist nightmare.” What did Mrs. O do to earn such a dramatic title, you ask? Well, it looks like her recent 106 & Park appearance where she discussed her new educational indicatives may have had something to do with it. According to Cottle’s article, the FLOTUS should probably spend more time worrying about more hard-hitting issues and policies and less time assuming the mom-in-chief role.
“As President Obama claws his way through a second term, the sense of urgency for his well-educated wife to do more—to make a difference—may well be mounting. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. In fact, East Wing officials I spoke with stress that Michelle Obama is not about to tap her inner wonk—she will focus on young people, not policy—and while the task of promoting higher ed may be new, speaking directly to kids is simply what Michelle does. Sure enough, in a sit-down with BET’s 106 & Park the week after the Education Department rollout, there was the first lady in full mom mode, lecturing students about nothing more politically controversial than the need to do their homework and get to school on time,” Cottle wrote.
“So enough already with the pining for a Michelle Obama who simply doesn’t exist. The woman is not going to morph into an edgier, more activist first lady. The 2012 election did not set her free. Even now, with her husband waddling toward lame duck territory, she is not going to let loose suddenly with some straight talk about abortion rights or Obamacare or the Common Core curriculum debate. Turns out, she was serious about that whole “mom-in-chief” business—it wasn’t merely a political strategy but also a personal choice,” she continued.
Many have since responded Cottle’s piece, refuting her claims that Michelle Obama has somehow harmed feminism and questioning exactly which feminists have an issue with the way Mrs. O does her job as First Lady.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry also responded to Cottle in this week’s letter.
“Dear Michelle Cottle,
Are you serious? You–or your handful of “feminist” sources–claim that first lady Obama is not a feminist because she says her most important job is being “mom-in-chief” to her two daughters,” Harris-Perry writes
“Given how simplistic your piece is, let me make this very simple: you are wrong. You’re wrong to write off the first lady’s priorities as fluff. She is fighting childhood obesity, one of the biggest public health crises of our time. And she’s not out there just flexing her biceps and mom-dancing with Jimmy Fallon–her Let’s Move campaign has helped thousands of child care programs offer healthier food and more exercise. And for the first time in years the CDC says there’s a significant decline in obesity in pre-schoolers,” the MSNBC anchor continues.
She went on to slam popular belief that Mrs. O is playing it safe to dodge being pegged as an “angry Black woman.”
“The first lady is not playing it safe with this work. She has drawn plenty of right-wing criticism. No, Ms. Cottle, not everyone loves a vegetable garden. You seem to think she is steering clear of the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype. But when she calls herself mom-in-chief, she is rejecting a different stereotype–the role of Mammy. She is saying that her daughters–her vulnerable, brilliant, beautiful black daughters–are the most important thing to her.”
“And on a strategic note, Miss Cottle: before we enter the 2016 election cycle and the feminists come asking black women for our support for your candidate, you might want to read up a bit on black women and our feminism. I can send you a syllabus,” she eventually concludes.
Michelle Obama’s snazzy wardrobe is almost always a hot topic of conversation. For the most part, whenever Barack’s leading lady steps out in the public eye, she’s dressed to the nines. It would seem that she doesn’t have any fashion regrets, but during her recent appearance on BET’s 106 & Park she revealed that she still laments over wearing shorts on Air Force One back in 2009.
“Sometimes I forget I’m the first lady and I’m running around in shorts,” she humorously admitted, referring to her family’s first White House vacation.
The FLOTUS went on to reminisce about all of the backlash that she received for wearing Bermuda shorts on Air Force One.
“It created a huge stink because people were like, ‘she’s wearing shorts getting off of Air Force One.’”
She also admitted that initially, she didn’t think much of her clothing selection, as she and her family were vacationing. As for whether or not she’d ever wear shorts on Air Force One again, the First Lady says probably not. In Lady O’s defense, she wasn’t in the White House very long before the incident occurred and while the media ripped her to shreds over those Bermuda shorts, a survey conducted by the Huff Post revealed that 59% of readers said the FLOTUS “absolutely” had “the right to bare legs.” We’d have to agree.
Do you think the issue was blown out of proportion?
Jazmine Denise is an entertainment and celebrity news blogger. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Michelle Obama Talks Applying And Getting Accepted To Princeton, Despite Being Discouraged By Naysayers
Is Michelle Obama the coolest First Lady ever or what? The Harvard Law School graduate recently paid a visit to BET’s popular music variety show, 106 & Park, to offer great advice about education and discuss her latest initiative. Check out a few highlights from her interview.
On the advice she would give her daughters about education:
“The same thing that my parents told me. You know, they have to put 120% in your education. And one of the things that I’m hoping to develop is their passion for learning. So many young people just get into the grades and checking the boxes—just doing what they think they’re supposed to do. But there’s also a value in learning how to love to learn, because you’re gonna have to be doing that forever. The way jobs are going now, nothing is set in stone. It’s not like people are working at the same job forever and in the end, getting that gold watch. People are needing to retrain and be able to re-educate themselves so that they stay on top of the jobs of the future. I want my girls to be life-long learners. But I also don’t want them to take anything for granted. They don’t have any excuse not to be outstanding students.
On wanting Sasha and Malia to have the college experience:
“I’ve been talking to my kids about college and getting them to think about how much fun that’s going to be, and getting excited about the possibility of living on a campus with other young people. You know, being able to explore and making it something that they are desperate to get at, you know? I don’t want them staying at home up under me!”
On what she’d tell her younger self:
“You know, that girl was always afraid. You know, I was thinking, maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe I’m not bright enough. Maybe there are kids that are working harder than me. I was always worrying about disappointing someone or failing. And the thing that I would tell that girl is, ‘Don’t worry about failure because failure is the key to success and you are smart enough to sit at any table and compete and have your voice heard.’ Fortunately, I’ve come to know that.”
On applying and getting accepted to Princeton despite being discouraged by counselors:
“I was breathing a sigh of relief because by then [senior prom], I had gotten into Princeton. Even though there were counselors and people told me that I shouldn’t reach that high—that I didn’t have what it takes to get into a school like Princeton. But I ignored that naysayers, I got myself together, I focused on my application and I sent my forms in. It turned out that my parents could provide some support. I got grants and scholarships. I was flying high because I’d achieved one of my most important goals—after all of the worry and the hard work.”
She’s such a class act!
Catch the FLOTUS on 106 & Park Tuesday, November 19th at 6 pm E/T.
Jazmine Denise is an entertainment and celebrity news blogger. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
The First Lady has just joined President Barack Obama‘s efforts to get the United States on track to have the highest percentage of college graduates by 2020.
Recently, Michelle Obama spoke to students at Bell Multicultural High School not far from the White House. The event is part of what will be a broader focus for the First Lady on getting students — particularly those in underserved communities — to attend college.
“No matter what the president does, no matter what your teachers and principals do, or whatever is going on in your home or neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you,” FLOTUS said.
Mrs. Obama, who went to one of the best high schools in Chicago, told the story of how she had to wake up at 6 a.m. and travel at least an hour on the bus. The First Lady grew up in a working class family and went on to Princeton University and Harvard Law School, reports The Grio.
“Some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high. They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,” Obama said to the 10th graders. “It was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go; instead it was going to be up to me to reach my goals.”
She is working with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is overseeing the effort. Right now the U.S. ranks 12th globally in the proportion of people who hold college degrees.
Mrs. Obama encouraged the students to be inspired by Menbere Assefa, 22-year-old Bell Multicultural alumna who graduated on scholarship from James Madison University in May. Her family, who emigrated from Ethiopia when she was eight years old, stressed the importance of education.
“There’s scholarships out there, there are funds out there for people to get and make sure that they attend higher education,” said Assefa, who works as a management assistant in policy and compliance administration for the District of Columbia government.
As Melissa Harris-Perry said in her introduction at the Black Female Voices: Who is Listening? public conversation on race and black womanhood, “nobody comes to black feminism except through bell hooks first.”
If you haven’t yet seen the discussion between Melissa Harris-Perry and bell hooks, the MSNBC talk show host and the acclaimed feminist theorist, you are in luck as The New School (as well as the Melissa Harris-Perry show website) has made the more than 90-minute discussion available online. You can also watch it on the last page of this article. The video is a strong reminder of why hooks remains one of the most constructive post-colonial feminists to ever exist at the intersection of race, gender and class. Melissa Harris-Perry was also outstanding as a facilitator, which I will discuss more later. I truly believe that even women and men, who do not identify as feminists, will appreciate the candid and overall fearless way in which both scholars give their critique on race, sexism, classism and white domination – well, at least some of you will.
Here are a few takeaways I got from the discussion:
You’re not angry just because you are a black woman, you are angry because there is something to get angry about: Earlier in the discussion Perry and hooks reflected on the challenges black women must deal with when trying to be a dissenting voice in the face of labels such as “difficult” or “angry.” It was a label, hooks said she has endured throughout her career, most memorably by white feminists after the release of her first book. As hooks contends, most times she is just being “exact” and “precise” in her thoughts, however, she also reminds us that sometimes, she gets mad too: “I’m one of those black women, who if I am angry you are going to know I am angry and I am going to own my anger.” Perry cosigned that sentiment and told the story of the backlash she received after her now infamous segment of the Melissa Harris-Perry show when she abruptly challenged her guest, economist Monica Mehta, with the profound question of “What’s riskier than living poor in America?” Like hooks, Perry too was labeled by folks in the press as “angry” and “having lost it,” when in all actuality, she was just speaking up at what were some pretty ridiculous attacks against poor people.
What’s great about this particular part of their conversation was not only did it delve into how these labels are often used to dismiss and marginalize a black woman’s voice, but also through this conversation, we get to see push-back to the idea that being mad is irrational. As Perry put it:
“I’m mad but I am mad about something. I am not mad at the inherent aspect of my blackness or my womanhood. I can be difficult, right. Man, I can be difficult. But so are all the white guys…that difficulty is presumed to be legitimate whereas ours are seen as illegitimate.”
Poor folks are people without access to livable amounts of money – and that’s it: Her name was Tanya Fields and she stood at the mic, several months pregnant with her fifth child, to deliver a very candid and unapologetic testimony about what is often the patronizing and condescending ways in which feminists (of all stripes) will speak of feminist single mothers who live below the poverty level:
“As a low income black mother, I have been struggling to find my voice. And I have been using my platforms Facebook, Twitter etc. to talk about being this whole person and what it means to be unmarried with three baby daddies and four kids. The push back that I am often feeling is not from the white folks in the community. It is from the other sisters who tear me down. Tell me that the reason why I am low income is because I didn’t have the insight to choose good men. That I should have kept my hands out and my mouth closed and my legs closed…It stops you from wanting to have that voice…”
Even in the best of intentions, folks have a tendency to treat people of of lower-income levels, paternalistically. As someone who was reared below the poverty line, I can say for certain that nothing is more annoying than having someone relate to you as some sort of cause meant to be fixed or saved. You may think it’s helpful until you realize that there is an entire aid establishment built upon this thinking and yet, folks aren’t getting less poor. And as a former poor child, who followed the scheme of graduating college, avoiding premarital pregnancy and managing my money well – you know, the opposite of stuff folks like to throw in poor people’s faces as the reasons why they are poor – I’m still only a paycheck or two away from reluctantly reclaiming my financial roots. Therefore, as feminists, it is important that we seeks to empower women and not paternalize them.