All Articles Tagged "michelle obama"
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher educational initiative is now collaborating with rapper and Washington D.C. native Wale to promote higher education and career services for youths. Wale is scheduled to support the initiative at the White House this upcoming Thursday by performing and speaking with students.
In a press release, The White House communication team said: “As part of her Reach Higher initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome more than 130 college-bound students from across the country to participate in the 2015 Beating the Odds Summit. These students are being sponsored by 70 non-profit organizations, and represent a mix of urban, rural, foster, homeless, special needs, and under-represented youth who have overcome substantial obstacles to persist through high school and make it to college.”
The Beating The Odds Summit will also host a panel with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Brown University senior student Manuel Contreras; E! News co-host Terrence Jenkins will serve as the panel’s moderator.
Wale spoke of the collaboration, by saying, “I’m beyond honored & grateful to be involved in the First Lady’s ‘Reach Higher’ initiative & to have the opportunity to sit down with her, as well as perform for the kids of D.C. I believe that the youth are the first step in creating a better country, so to be involved in a program that aims to enrich their lives is truly the greatest reward. Having grown up in Washington, D.C., being invited to the White House by the First Lady is a dream come true. Thank you to Mrs. Obama & her entire staff for this opportunity.”
This promises to be a big year for Black autobiographies. With Issa Rae’s book of short essays in stores everywhere, Amber Rose preparing her scandalous tell-all, and the announcements of memoirs coming from Shonda Rhimes and Gabourey Sidibe, we are hype. But we would be even more excited if the following stars shared their stories. Here are 15 celebs who need to write tell-all books!
Michelle Obama has placed in the number 10 spot on the Forbes list of 25 Most Powerful Women in the World, the highest position for a Black woman on the list. The list, which includes women in politics, media, entertainment and more, is assessed based on financial resources, media mentions around the global and “sphere of influence,” which includes pop culture sway, philanthropy and other areas of influence.
“The concept of power can be nebulous — especially when it comes to gender,” the magazine writes, noting that as of January 2015, there were only 10 women serving as heads of state, 23 female CEOs at the S&P 500 companies and 197 women on the list of international billionaires.
“But there’s hardly a void of powerful women – and the numbers are growing. That is, if we enlarge our focus from just who owns the greatest wealth or the heaviest corporate hammer to include the women whose influence and impact may be greater than the sum of their title,” Forbes continues.
But in terms of cold-hard cash, Oprah comes in first, the top–ranking billionaire on the list at number 12. And Beyonce comes in at number 21.
The top three women on the list are, in order, German Chancellor Angela Merkel; former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; and Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
For the full list of all 100 most powerful women, click here.
Although we don’t really need another reason to love our First Lady, here’s another: she’s a naturalista!
Yes, you read correctly. Michelle Obama stopped chemically treating her hair years ago. Celebrity stylist Johnny Wright, who takes care of the FLOTUS’ tresses, recently discussed Lady O’s hair with The Root.
Instead of relying on chemicals, Wright says that he straightens Lady O’s hair with a flat iron. While he wouldn’t say for sure whether or not we’ll ever see Mrs. Obama stepping out rocking her natural ‘fro, Wright says that it’s definitely a possibility.
“I don’t know. Maybe on vacation she will,” he shared. “She is 100 percent natural now. It is a possibility.”
While Wright says that he doesn’t subscribe to the notion of good and bad hair, he thoroughly supports the natural hair movement, which the First Lady has embraced.
“I think a lot of women are starting to see what type of damage chemicals has caused their hair over the years, and they’re really starting to embrace their curls and really embrace the fact that they can be versatile,” Wright said.
“They can wear it curly. They can wear it straight. They don’t have to really conform to any particular look. They can do it all, and that’s one thing that is going to stick. That’s the revolution part of it. … The revolution part will stick. All about curl power.”
Check out more famous women you didn’t know are natural here.
If you’re one of those people who always wanted to know how Michelle Obama, 51, gets those toned and taut arms and stays so slim and trim, look no further than her new workout video, which shows the First Lady training dirty at the gym.
It all started when President Obama put out a video last week of the five ways he tries to stay in shape while on the go. He put this together to celebrate five years of Michelle’s well-known Let’s Move! campaign. In his video, he challenged the First Lady to show him, and the world, five ways she moves in an effort to stay healthy. So she did!
In her video, we received access to the White House athletic unit where her trainer, Cornell McClellan, showed us the moves that keep her in shape: jumping rope, ab work (including with a medicine ball), explosive in n’ out plyo squats using a bench, lifting free weights, and boxing/kickboxing with a punching bag.
And as Michelle reminds us, if you’re going to take part in these exercises, you can’t forget to stay hydrated!
Check out the First Lady’s workout regimen and get inspired! Summer unofficially starts next week, but it’s never too late to get it right and keep it tight…
Black people, particularly the adults, have to start telling the truth about racism in America, and that includes the first family.
What I mean is that during an address before the graduating class of Tuskegee University, First Lady Michelle Obama referred to racism as a “sting” and said that she refused to let it hold her back.
As reported by ABC News.com:
“Over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited a little bit of ‘uppityism,'” the first lady said. “Cable news charmingly referred to me as ‘Obama’s baby mamma.’
“All of the chatter, the name-calling, the doubting, all of it was just noise,” she said. “It did not define me, it didn’t change who I was, and most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back.”
Conjuring up the incidents in Ferguson and Baltimore, Obama told graduates, “Here’s the thing, the road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me.”
You can read the first lady’s entire speech on the White House website. During her address to the graduating class, she also revisited the familiar story of the Tuskegee Airmen, in particular, the challenges faced by Black soldiers who were assumed to be “childlike,” “shiftless” and have smaller brains than their white counterparts.
She then went on to talk about all the racism that she and her husband have endured both out on the campaign trail and during their time in the White House. This includes being labeled as an emasculating “angry Black woman” by many in the media and the time she was parodied on the cover of the New Yorker with a huge afro and machine gun after giving her husband ‘dap.’ As she noted in her speech:
“And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing. Because no matter what happened, I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling, the doubting — all of it was just noise. (Applause.) It did not define me. It didn’t change who I was. And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back. I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values — and follow my own moral compass — then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”
The speech in front of Tuskegee’s graduating class was beautiful, passionate and probably the most sincere either of the Obamas have been about race since President Obama took office. However, it is not entirely honest. In spite of her declaration, it is clear that the “sting” of racism has in fact defined Mrs. Obama and the Obamas in general. Moreover, anyone with an astute political eye can see that it not only changed how she carried herself in the White House, but in many instances, it held both of them back from enacting the change and reform that they had envisioned themselves doing while on the campaign trail.
It would be her brave and truthful comments about being proud of her country “for the first time,” made during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, that would lead to the future FLOTUS being labeled by many in the mainstream press as an “angry Black woman.” While undeserving, it was a reputation that would haunt the first lady during her first couple of years in the White House. It also didn’t help that a book, written by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, followed the theme of an emasculating First Lady by claiming that Michelle was overbearing and frequently clashed with White House staff, particularly Obama’s chief of staff at the time Rahm Emmanuel.
Then there was the less than warm reception she received over her Let’s Move! campaign. If you recall, while Michelle Obama was focused on trying to get legislation passed that would reduce the caloric intake of public school lunches, Republicans were accusing her of overstepping her boundaries. They even made racist remarks about her body shape, in particular, her derriere. Most memorable were the sentiments of a Wisconsin Republican, who criticized Mrs. Obama’s campaign by saying,“She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.”
While Michelle Obama has always denied the White House drama and denounced her reputation as an angry Black woman (and rightfully ignored the disgusting sexist comments about her body shape), it was clear that each incident would provoke a noticeable change in Michelle’s overall public image. As noted by this 2008 article in the New York Times entitled, “After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction,” the Michelle Obama we witnessed on the campaign trail suddenly became less political. In particular, they noted “Mrs. Obama has already had to check her brutally honest approach to talking about race. Now she co-stars in a campaign that would as soon mute most discussion of race.”
And after the book release, which painted Michelle in a less than admirable light, she enlisted the assistance of a new advisor named Kristina Schake. She helped to redefine Michelle’s public image from the angry black lady into, as the UK’s Daily Mail reported earlier this year, an “all-American ‘everywoman’ who shops at retail outlets, does ‘mom dancing’ and even has a Twitter account.”
Likewise, as the National Journal had previously reported, “While President Obama was steadily losing favor over the last four years, his wife was undergoing a successful public makeover. In keeping with tradition, the first lady has mostly steered clear of politics to focus on feel-good projects such as outreach to military families, organic gardening, and efforts to fight childhood obesity.”
Michelle’s political neutralization did not just stop at talking about race. Her beloved Let’s Move! campaign stopped pushing for actual legislation changes, which would make healthier food more accessible, and instead took a softer approach by focusing on personal nutrition and fitness.
Whether she is willing to admit it to herself or not, it is obvious that the “sting” of racism would be the number one driving force behind Michelle Obama’s shift in her public image.
Now I am sure that Mrs. Obama meant well and thought her words to be inspiring. However, we need to stop preaching to the kids about the world we want to live in and instead, tell them the truth about the world we actually live in. Racism is not a “sting.” It is not the manifestation of sticks and stones and how ugly names cannot hurt us. Racism is systematic and continues in order to ensure that groups outside of the dominant culture, particularly African Americans, can not rise to the same level of equality, justice and freedom as our white counterparts.
And no matter how much personal wealth and status one can acquire within the confines of this system or how many of us become doctors, nurses, lawyers and even presidents of the United States, we are still going to be treated and regarded as inferior. And if the neutralization of Michelle Obama is not enough proof of that then consider how Barack, her husband, has been politically neutered because of his race, including constantly being maligned and undermined in the halls of Congress and not being able to speak and act freely on the issue of police brutality, possibly out of fear of what the dominant culture will say and do to him.
But by not telling the next generation of us the truth about this country, we are ultimately saying to our youth that their places, as second-class citizens in their own land of birth, is okay. That they should accept their positions and work within the parameters set by the majority. Frankly, this is the wrong mindset to have. That kind of mindset breeds complacency when what we actually need are changemakers.
Surely, you’ve noticed that this Mother’s Day weekend, there were quite a few graduation ceremonies taking place across the country. Tuskegee University also had their commencement this weekend and First Lady, Michelle Obama was the speaker. She had some really poignant words to share with the graduates about her own successes and failures, and spoke very candidly about the challenges she faced being the first Black woman to hold the position of First Lady and how she overcame them.
She begins the speech talking about the illustrious history of the university and the graduates who made a difference in the world. She mentioned the Tuskegee airmen who took the bumps and bruises of racism to fly into the sky, free.
She said that the graduates today, looking back at that history, might be feeling some pressure to live up to that legacy. And she spoke about the ways in which she too had felt pressure as the First Lady of the United States.
And believe me, I understand that kind of pressure. (Applause.) I’ve experienced a little bit of it myself. You see, graduates, I didn’t start out as the fully-formed First Lady who stands before you today. No, no, I had my share of bumps along the way.
Back when my husband first started campaigning for President, folks had all sorts of questions of me: What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on? Would I be more like Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Reagan? And the truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse. That’s just the way the process works. But, as potentially the first African American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? (Applause.) Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?
Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover — it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me.
Or you might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.” And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited “a little bit of uppity-ism.“ Another noted that I was one of my husband’s “cronies of color.” Cable news once charmingly referred to me as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”
And of course, Barack has endured his fair share of insults and slights. Even today, there are still folks questioning his citizenship.
And all of this used to really get to me. Back in those days, I had a lot of sleepless nights, worrying about what people thought of me, wondering if I might be hurting my husband’s chances of winning his election, fearing how my girls would feel if they found out what some people were saying about their mom.
But eventually, I realized that if I wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God’s plan for me. (Applause.) I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself — and the rest would work itself out. (Applause.)
So throughout this journey, I have learned to block everything out and focus on my truth. I had to answer some basic questions for myself: Who am I? No, really, who am I? What do I care about?
And the answers to those questions have resulted in the woman who stands before you today. (Applause.) A woman who is, first and foremost, a mom. (Applause.) Look, I love our daughters more than anything in the world, more than life itself. And while that may not be the first thing that some folks want to hear from an Ivy-league educated lawyer, it is truly who I am. (Applause.) So for me, being Mom-in-Chief is, and always will be, job number one.
Next, I’ve always felt a deep sense of obligation to make the biggest impact possible with this incredible platform. So I took on issues that were personal to me — issues like helping families raise healthier kids, honoring the incredible military families I’d met on the campaign trail, inspiring our young people to value their education and finish college. (Applause.)
Now, some folks criticized my choices for not being bold enough. But these were my choices, my issues. And I decided to tackle them in the way that felt most authentic to me — in a way that was both substantive and strategic, but also fun and, hopefully, inspiring.
So I immersed myself in the policy details. I worked with Congress on legislation, gave speeches to CEOs, military generals and Hollywood executives. But I also worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families — and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way. So, yeah, I planted a garden, and hula-hooped on the White House Lawn with kids. I did some Mom Dancing on TV. I celebrated military kids with Kermit the Frog. I asked folks across the country to wear their alma mater’s T-shirts for College Signing Day.
And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing. Because no matter what happened, I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling, the doubting — all of it was just noise. (Applause.) It did not define me. It didn’t change who I was. And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back. I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values — and follow my own moral compass — then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.
So, graduates, that’s what I want for all of you. I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves. I want you to ask those basic questions: Who do you want to be? What inspires you? How do you want to give back? And then I want you to take a deep breath and trust yourselves to chart your own course and make your mark on the world.
You can read the full speech from Mrs. Obama, transcribed for the White House, on the next page.
If you’ve read President Obama’s autobiography, or seen of he and Michelle’s television appearances, especially around the time of his reelection campaign, you know about the First Couple’s first kiss.
In case you’ve somehow missed the story, he told O Magazine in 2007:
“On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.”
Is it just me, or was there a little double entendre there?
Either way, the story has become so popular and so sentimental, that there was plaque placed at the spot where the two shared their first kiss.
And now, according to Variety, the couple’s first date will be turned into a romance drama. The film, called Southside with You, will star Parker Sawyers as a young Barack and Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama, then Robinson.
Ice cream wasn’t the only part of their date, the soon-to-be couple also visited the Art Institute of Chicago, took a walk and then saw Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.
They made a whole day of it.
Sawyers recently completed a role in Snowden and is about to shoot The Autopsy of Jane Doe.
Richard Tanne will serve as screenwriter and director for the project. Glendon Palmer, who executive produced for Jumping The Broom, will also do so on this project with Tracey Bing, among others.
Shooting for the film is set to start in August.
You can watch Barack and Michelle Obama talk about their first date in this video below. It’s pretty adorable.
The babies know what’s up; and quite often, they won’t hesitate to tell you the God’s honest truth.
Yesterday, the First Lady hosted a group of foster children and other youth from Washington D.C. in their annual event, “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” Later, Mrs. Obama allowed the children to ask her questions. The 32-minute session covered a wide range of topics; but one brave and curious little girl dared to ask the First Lady of the United States, a question some women avoid like the plague.
“How old are you?”
The First Lady looked a bit taken aback for a second before answering, “I’m 51.”
The little girl must have made some type of face expressing shock because Mrs. Obama asked her what was that look about.
And that’s when the little girl said, “You’re too young for a 51-year-old.”
Tell the truth, child!
Mrs. Obama asked her staff to give the little girl a microphone to repeat her observation. Afterward, she said that deserved a hug.
And this child was ready for her hug, she ran up to the stage, arms extended long before she even got there.
Check it out in the video below.
BGR Founder Beverly Bond Responds Mad White Folks About The First Lady Attending Black Girls Rock Awards
After BET aired the “Black Girls Rock” Award show, a slew of White people were not particularly happy about First Lady, Michelle Obama appearing and speaking at the program. And they expressed their concerns, mostly via social media. They sounded off under the First Lady’s Instagram page.
This happens every year with the award show, the criticism was just louder this year because of Mrs. Obama’s attendance. Well, Black Girls Rock founder, Beverly Bond, has been doing this for years. And just like last year, she had to address the critics. This year was no exception. In a recent interview with WBLS, see how she eloquently and righteously defended the First Lady’s decision to attend the show as well as the reason it exists in the first place.
About Mrs. Obama attending:
“I thought she’s a Black girl that rocks. Why wouldn’t she be there?”
About people saying the show is racist.
“There is a real blind spot when it comes to privilege in America and not understanding racism and the implications of that. It is very telling when people have no problem tuning into Black Entertainment Television but when they’re tuning in, they’re offended by Black Entertainment Television celebrating Black women. That says a lot about who’s really racist here. And the fact that there needs to be a Black Entertainment Television or a Black Girls Rock or an NAACP. These things came about because of our exclusion. That’s one of the reasons why they exist.
So I think it’s very telling about where we are with our race relations with people being comfortable enough to tune into BET, not concerned when the images were not so stellar, never voicing their opinions about things that were degrading us or harming us. And to be offended by something that uplifts and empowers something that is an affirmation for young girls, that’s very telling.
If people really felt like it was about exclusion or “White Girls Rock Too” then they would have approached it differently. We know White Girls Rock, no one’s ever denied it. But to be offended that we have taken this issue of self esteem in our own hands…the many messages that are directed towards Black women and girls that tell us that we are not good enough, that we are not beautiful enough, that we are not deserving enough. There are so many messages in media from cosmetic ads to just being the leading lady opposite men who look like us.
And so this message has been going on for a very long time and for us to actually decide to say something and do something about it and people be offended, that’s like telling the slaves not to teach the kids to read. I think it’s really racist of them to be offended.
But what I did notice this year was women, of all nationalities but especially White women that jumped in and said to the other women who were offended, ‘How dare you? How dare you be offended by our sisters celebrating themselves?’ And I thought that that was amazing.
Bravo Beverly! You can watch Beverly Bond’s full interview, where she discusses a bit of the process to get the First Lady there, to the words of encouragement she shared with her and more in the video below.