New Orleans was the weekend home for stars during the 2019 Essence Festival, one of which was Michelle Obama who sat with CBS This Morning host Gayle King to talk how the White House affected her life.
In recalling her time in and leading to the White House, Mrs. Obama spoke about the detractors who created hurdles for her and her husband’s journey.
“For a minute there, I was an angry black woman who was emasculating her husband,” Obama recalled about the campaign. “As I got more popular, that’s when people of all sides — Democrats and Republicans — tried to take me out by the knees and the best way to do it was to focus on the one thing people were afraid of the strength of a black woman.”
CBS News reported Mrs. Obama and President Barack Obama are both enjoying their life after the White House; however, they acknowledge their work as leaders isn’t done.
“Barack and I aren’t living our best life until we’re all living our best life,” she said.
During her time with King, Mrs. Obama shared how Black people possess what is necessary to create the stories in order to make a positive change. She stated the belief is echoed by Reverend Al Sharpton, who notes Black women have the power of voice and story.
“I’m here to tell you, there is nothing we can’t do or change when we as a collective put our minds to it,” she said. “I feel that when I’m out there. We’re the ones we are waiting for. But that means we have to roll up our sleeves and do the work every single time.”
Mrs. Obama still champions her “when they go low, we go high” statement, citing it is a long-term strategy, which delivers the real answer to problems we face opposed to in the moment reactions or having the ability to “just go off.” The statement is not to ignore what is being said or done to you, instead, focus on how do you get to where you are trying to go.
During her time in the White House, America was able to watch Mrs. Obama’s daughters grow up. One of the keys to raising Sasha and Malia Obama was having the ability to “pretend like all the craziness around them isn’t happening.” That included letting the girls know that while they are the daughters of the president of the United States, their primary focus should be school and their own lives.
She would go on to detail the complexities of having little girls, including sleepovers.
“Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover. This is the call: It’s like, ‘Hello. OK, we’re going to need your Social Security number, we’re going to need your date of birth. There are going to be men coming to sweep your house, if you have guns and drugs, just tell them yes because they are going to find them anyway. Don’t lie, they’re not going to take them, they just need to know where they are. And, uh, thank you for having Malia and Sasha over. Oh, and by the way, there is going to be a man with a gun sitting outside all night. If you let him use the bathroom, that would be nice.'”
Through all of the madness of being America’s first family, Mrs. Obama is pleased that her daughters could have friends and a sense of traditional life as girls.
You can view the entire interview from the Essence Festival here.