Lady Michelle Obama swept into Beantown Saturday as part of the
national book tour promoting her memoir “Becoming” that
was held at the TD Garden. The evening before the event, my spouse
and I were gifted front row seats.
the event was simply magical. And, the audience was wildly excited.
Norris, a former NPR host, interviewed Michelle Obama. The two
Michelles had a fabulous time lollygagging and laughing, making us
all privy to their intimate conversation.
conveyed a universal message of hope. However, her message of self -
empowerment to women - young and old - spoke a truth across
generations, centering it as the theme for the evening. Walking into
T.D. Garden mothers had daughters in tow and both carrying
Obama’s concept of “swerve” is connected to one of
the many messages in her book. The idea grabbed my attention, not
only in the delightfully relatable and meaningful way she conveyed
the concept, but it also caught my attention in ways she shared
examples from her life.
is about embracing flexibility. “Swerve” is the ability
not to be tethered to a perceived and rigid trajectory of your life,
but rather it is about being open to life’s journey, and at
times merely living in the question about what to do in your life.
(And, do I know about the latter!)
not supposed to know at 20” what you’ll be for the rest
of your life Michelle told the audience. Michelle stated that we'll
have many lives and chapters in our lifetime because we’re
always discovering, evolving, and journeying into “becoming.”
example, Michelle shared with the audience that in her late teens and
20s she had mapped out a straight and perceived unerring path for her
life - college, law school, job….. - to achieve happiness and
success. She disclosed, however, to the audience she abhorred being a
lawyer albeit it was one of the many check boxes on her achievement
list, all the while quite miserable.
candidness on the topic has inspired others.
that Mrs. Obama’s path was not straight, it’s just been
inspiring to know that my path may not be straight either but I will
be successful, “Alana Underwood, a senior at Berkley School of
Music told the Boston Globe. Underwood was one of the twenty young
sisters chosen as part of the Black Girls Rock program to visit with
the First Lady.
book as in her promotional tour takes the audience into the interior
of her life- from a happy working-class childhood growing up in a
multicultural community on the South Side of Chicago, through her ivy
league education, a plum job at a corporate law firm and to the White
House. The book like the tour dispenses advice and inspirational
stop at the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester was to inspire a future
generation of young leaders often not thought as such.
were reading your book as if you wrote these stories about us,”
a woman told her.
the book, as well as the tour, reintroduces Michelle. Several
biographies have been written about Michelle Obama, all by white men
and women authors, except for “American Grown: The Story of the
White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America” and
“Becoming.” Their depictions of Michelle, while not
intended to be damaging, are, nonetheless, stereotypes.
Caribbean American feminist lesbian once stated: “If I didn’t
define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s
fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
the beginning years of Michelle’s tenure in the White House as
well she time on the campaign trail she was typecast as an “angry
black woman,” a racial trope for any sister who speaks truth to
example, during the campaign trail Michelle, candid and excited about
the enthusiasm sweeping the country about Barack’s run for the
presidency, was assailed by Republicans as unpatriotic and angry. In
what once seemed inconceivable - a black president the United States
- Michelle told a crowd before the Wisconsin primary that “For
the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my
reflecting on how her image was misconstrued, at best, or,
intentionally maligned, at worse, Michelle told the Post, “I
was female, Black and strong, which to certain people . . .
translated only to ‘angry.’ It was another damaging
cliché, one that’s been forever used to sweep minority
women to the perimeter of every room.”
book, as well as the tour, reintroduces Michelle to us as a private
citizen. She wrote the book to start a conversation with America
about empowerment and healing.
Michelle’s tour will not reach everyone she hopes the message
in her book will, resonating with some unlikely people. For example,
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney who stated his
boss repeatedly used racist and divisive language, said he hopes
Michelle’s book will help unify the country.
think it has the potential to do so.