An open letter thanking Michelle Obama
February 27, 2017
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It’s been a month since you were my First Lady. It’s been a month since your last speech on television, your last presidential photo-op, your last wave and smile into the crowds. It’s been a month since you’ve graced America with your presence and wisdom—and I miss it.
I think I realized your beauty the first time I heard you speak. Your voice moved through the crowd, raising murmurs and gasps. At the time, you moved me. I was too young to grasp the words you had to say or why you were saying them but they resonated. You opened your mouth and with that came power, wisdom, hope.
That first time I saw you I was eight years old, clinging to my mother in our living room. She had just finished preparing dinner—the sharp smell of tomato stew still fills my memory. As I sat, rubbing my thumb against the soft material of our couch, I remember looking up at you, speaking loudly, proudly, boldly on my television screen. I can’t remember where the speech was, or even the contents of the speech, but I do remember you. You were a beam of beauty and grace from the very beginning.
It could’ve been when I watched you on TV. Your arms were casually thrown around your daughters, and you were gazing at your husband with respect. Not a look of wonder, but the look you give an equal. You were not just Barack Obama’s wife, you were Barack Obama’s equal.
I cannot thank you enough for being exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. You were a brand of beauty unseen in the media—black, bold, powerful—and in a sea of important men, I needed that. You have been an inspiration, a model for me for nine years and I can never express that enough to you.
At eight years old I was an impressionable, young, black girl in a mainly white, male-driven society. You gave me a positive outlet. I looked up at the TV that day and I saw you. A figure of inspiration, grace, intelligence and beauty. So much beauty.
You taught me what it means to be beautiful. It radiates from you—in your language, your grace, your posture. The way you reached this nation, the way you affected the American people, the way you spoke to me.
Thank you for all you’ve done for this country. Not only in your policy changes but the way you chose to portray a powerful black woman.
Thank you for guiding me through my teenage years, for being the role model I aspire to be, both in college and the rest of my life.
Thank you for being the beauty I needed in my life; I will always carry you with me.