Michelle Obama learned the hard way that becoming the country’s first African-American FLOTUS doesn’t come without some harsh commentary. Speaking onstage to Gayle King on Saturday at Essence Festival’s 25th-anniversary celebration in New Orleans, the former first lady got real about how she learned to shake off hateful comments. “It was important to tell that part of the story (in “Becoming,” her 2018 best-selling autobiography) because they see me and Barack now, but they don’t know how many punches it took us to get there,” said Obama, according to Essence. “People from all sides, Democrats and Republicans, tried to take me out by the knees. And the best way they could do it was to focus on the strength of the black woman, so they turned that into a caricature.”
Obama wore a custom Sergio Hudson sequined jumpsuit, complete with a chunky belt and Sutra Jewels accessories, her stylist Meredith Koop revealed on Instagram. She also showed off her natural curls. Obama opened up about what it was like to leave the White House, recalling how daughters, Malia, now 21, and Sasha, 18, got emotional about vacating the place they had called home for eight years. “And then we had to meet the Trumps,” Obama said. “That day was very emotional and then to sit at that inauguration and to look around at a crowd that was not reflective of the country, and I had to sit in that audience as one of the handfuls of people of color, all that I had to hold on to over those last eight years, and it was a lot emotionally. By the time I got on the plane, it was a release of eight years of trying to have to show up.”
She continued: “People ask me that question all the time and I can honestly say, our upset wasn’t over our legacy. We weren’t there to instill our legacy, but the upset it would cause the country. What saddens me is what it’s doing to the country as a whole. What we have to be really conscientious of is what kind of country we’re leaving for our children or grandchildren.” Obama told King backstage that she hoped listeners walked away from their discussion “inspired, focused and ready to do some work.” Onstage, she implored women to take time to take care of themselves.
"Now I’m Michelle Obama and the love, but for a minute there I was an angry black woman" Michelle Obama at Essence Festival with Gayle King.
Posted by Lola Sylla on Saturday, July 6, 2019
“We need to have conversations about number one. Why is it so hard for us as women to put ourselves first?” she said her Instagram Stories. “I mean, we’re living in a world where we as women are so devalued. We’ve trained ourselves to think we don’t deserve it. That we don’t deserve to take care of ourselves. “We have to search our minds and our histories and our backgrounds to find out where that hurt comes from. We know we see it out there in the culture because we don’t see ourselves. We see people imitating ourselves, but not giving ourselves credit for the beauty that we hold.”
Content Credit: usatoday