The countdown is on. In just a few days, we’ll be forced to say goodbye to the best president some of us have ever known.
And while we’ll miss Barack, we’ll really miss Michelle. A wife, a mother, a lawyer, a fashionista, and a champion for women. “Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.” (whitehouse.gov)
In his farewell address, President Obama recognized her as he held back tears. “You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud,” he told her.
She was our Jackie O. The definition of #blackgirlmagic. She set trends, put new designers in the spotlight, and always made us proud. “She had the air of a woman who could balance a checkbook, and who knew a good deal when she saw it, and who would tell off whomever needed telling off,” said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, describing the First Lady’s regalness in a New York Times article.
When they went low, she went high. She never responded to the racist taunts or the comments about her body. She was always the picture of elegance, dignity, and class. “Eventually, she spoke up about the pain of the racist assumptions directed at her, but she waited until her husband could no longer be politically punished for her honesty….a tall, strong, elegant and seriously smart woman who happened to live in the White House,” said Gloria Steinem. “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.”
Her ivy league education and her eloquent speeches showed she could hold her own in any room. “You can go to Princeton and Harvard, you can rap with Missy Elliott, you can be a mother and a lawyer and a powerful orator,” said Rashida Jones. “You can champion the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, while also caring about fashion. You can dance with Ellen and also fearlessly remind people, on live television, of the reality of your position…”
As the Obamas leave the White House, Michelle Obama’s impact is clear.
Black-ish star Yara Shahidi said it best. “Our FLOTUS has made a large impact in the initiatives that she’s taken up, but her social and cultural impact has also been enormous. She’s not just a gorgeous human inside and out, but also somebody that is effecting change and is as integral to the Obama administration as anybody making policy changes. That’s why I love her. From the Let Girls Learn initiative to her Vogue covers, she slays it all.”