On December 19, 2016 8/7 central on CBS, Oprah Winfrey interviewed, the then first lady of the United States (hereinafter “FLOTUS”), Michelle Obama. Inter alia, the dynamic duo discussed the necessity of hope, how to do good business, politics, standing in your own truth, the power of words, and FLOTUS’s greatest impact.
First, FLOTUS articulated how important it is to have hope in America. From the failing economy that was given to the Obama administration, to the series of unfortunate events that allowed for our next President to be Donald Trump, the strength of hope is what she believes got us through, and will get us through the next four years. As citizens, we saw how desolate our situation was. We were in and out of wars; there were few opportunities for employment that matched skill sets; and we were in a struggle to keep the federal interest rate low. However, because people were hopeful, we worked together; we compromised; we sacrificed. We hoped for better tomorrows and worked towards them. Now, we must continue to hope for a better tomorrow, and work towards keeping people united, doing good work, and treating each other better than we did the day before.
Next, FLOTUS discussed good business. She stated, “When you want to get anything done, you can’t do everything.” Often times, people who are working their way to where they think they want to be in life, the pressures of being everywhere and doing everything can be overwhelming. More importantly, to hear a woman with great influence, who has done so much already, admit to not being able to do everything, allows those who follow her, to stand on that premise. When trying to be all you can be and exceed expectations, it now feels okay to say that it all cannot be done, now, or ever. It is okay to say “no” and stand firm on that “no”. By FLOTUS showing us the human side of business, she has created a way for all to humanize the daily challenge of trying to get it all done.
Subsequently, FLOTUS discussed how members of Congress did not support POTUS, and as a consequence did not support this Country. FLOTUS stated, “It was good for politics, but it wasn’t good for the Country.” The question is, why aren’t things that are good for politics, not good for this Country? What is it about political agendas that are not the best for the people? What exactly is the separation, and why? Such a statement makes me wonder if some politicians are looking out for the best interest of this Country, or their political party. Politics is the allocation of who gets what and when. If the statement, “it was good for politics but not good for this Country” is read accurately, the best conclusion that should be drawn is that some politicians are acting for their best interest, ensuring they get theirs now, without first considering the consequences their words and deeds have on the people that pay their salaries. In short, FLOTUS has shown us that a lot of politics has little or nothing to do with remaining humble, united, and serving the people.
Following the aforementioned, FLOTUS touched on standing in her own truth and living out loud. It is pivotal to personal and lasting success that people are true to themselves and others, in and out of season. FLOTUS is who she is unapologetically, and encourages others to be the same. She is joyful, let’s pain from the past go, and is hopeful for a better future. People often misinterpret communication, or the lack thereof, of others. In doing so, assumptions are made. Often times people overthink, fail to act, and try to fit in, just so they can feel like they have a place. The reality is, you make your place when you daringly stand for what you know to be true and just. The issue is, not enough people have the patience to allow others to see what they are standing for. Therefore, most people fold and conform to a way that is not fit for the calling on their lives. In the last eight years, FLOTUS showed us what it means to be who you are with no apologies. Her lifestyle has empowered young women to do great things and spread the knowledge and wisdom that she has given to us.
As the conversation ensued, FLOTUS stated, “My greatest impact is seeing young women, specifically young black women, educated, strong, and outspoken.” A woman who is Ivy league educated, went to law school, worked for a law firm, feels proud to see, essentially, women like me. When a substantial number of women are taught to be seen and not heard, to not speak their truth, to get married and have children and not worry about an education or being ambitious, Michelle Obama, in all of her platform and courage, says the complete opposite. If there ever was a time to be a proud, black, ambitious, and educated young woman, it is NOW.
Finally, FLOTUS expounded upon the power of words. FLOTUS stated, “Words matter. If I want maturity, hope, love, empathy, we must show that.” More often than not, people forget how powerful their words are. Actions are created after words are spoken. It may be a case of people not feeling like they are important, that allows them to not be careful with their words; or a case of people not caring enough for others which would cause them to not be careful with the words they say. FLOTUS explained that the next generation is looking to us (meaning her) for what to do. Some companies mold their practices to fit our liking, when we are looking to them to figure out how to do this thing called life. So many things are being said, and in turn done, without thinking of the consequences for our next generation.
As a people, we must reorient ourselves with our power. We must understand the effects our words have on others, and the responsibility we have to those who are looking to us for their next step. We must remember to always embrace the good, think positive thoughts, hope for the best, love in word and in deed, and dig deep to empower others to do the same.
In closing, FLOTUS has been a beacon of life and hope for generations to come. Her grace, genius, words of affirmation, and love will be with us always. Today, it is our duty to celebrate good people while we still have them with us, and work every single day to be a little bit more like them.
Thank you for taking the time to read, “#OprahandFLOTUS – Capturing the Legacy One Last Time”. If you enjoyed this article or it has moved you in any way, please consider supporting the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights at www.loweryinstitute.org. Let us be the change!