We are closing in on the end of an era. 90 days from today the Obama’s will no longer be the first family. While it is the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, he and his family have meant so much more to us than that. Witnessing two little black girls come of age in the White House and watching Barack and Michelle’s coupledom has been more than refreshing. They have truly made us proud. But Michelle…oh Michelle. From defending her husband’s decisions to standing on her own two feet and confidently spearheading her own initiatives, Michelle has proven to be the backbone of her family and this nation. And she has done so with a rhythm unmatched by any First Lady before her.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gloria Steinem, Jon Meacham and Rashida Jones penned thank-you notes to Michelle Obama in this month’s New York Times Style Magazine. My favorite passages come from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Gloria Steinem. Check them out below.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
“Of course she loved her country. The story of her life as she told it was wholesomely American, drenched in nostalgia: a father who worked shifts and a mother who stayed home, an almost mythic account of self-reliance, of moderation, of working-class contentment. But she is also a descendant of slaves, those full human beings considered human fractions by the American state. And ambivalence should be her birthright. For me, a foreign-raised person who likes America, one of its greatest curiosities is this: that those who have the most reason for dissent are those least allowed dissent.
Michelle Obama was speaking. I felt protective of her because she was speaking to an America often too quick to read a black woman’s confidence as arrogance, her straightforwardness as entitlement.
She was informal, colloquial, her sentences bookended by the word “see,” a conversational fillip that also strangely felt like a mark of authenticity. She seemed genuine. She was genuine. All over America, black women were still, their eyes watching a form of God, because she represented their image writ large in the world.”
“After a decade under a public microscope, she has managed what no other first lady — and few people in any public position — have succeeded in doing: She has lived a public life without sacrificing her privacy and authenticity. She made her husband both more human and effective as a president by being his interpreter and defender, but also someone we knew was capable of being his critic. 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. And she has always been the best kind of mother, which means insisting that fathers be equal parents. All of this she has done with honesty, humor and, most important, kindness.
I’m sure a few of us have some things to thank #FLOTUS for as well. I thank her for her grace, class, unapologetic blackness and for going high when they go low. Thank you for sharing your #blackgirlmagic with us. There will never be another like you.
You can read their notes in their entirely at NewYorkTimes.com.
Feel free to thank Michelle below.