First Lady Michelle Obama: Leader. Icon. Change Maker.



Ted Johnson: Michelle Obama Interview: How FLOTUS Used Pop Culture Stardom To Make An Impact

“What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way,” Obama says in an interview with Variety in her upstairs White House office, decorated in an eclectic mix of abstract art and framed mementos from her tenure. “My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen.  Has it worked? A case in point: The Carpool Karaoke segment highlighted one of Obama’s key initiatives, Let Girls Learn, a worldwide plan of action to promote girls’ access to education. She and Corden also sang “This Is for My Girls,” According to Nielsen, digital sales of “This Is for My Girls” climbed a whopping 1,562% in the week after the segment aired. And it generated almost 40 million views on YouTube. Her first major push to engage the entertainment community came in June 2011, when she appeared at the Writers Guild of America, West to talk about her initiative to support military families, called Joining Forces, and to encourage content creators to incorporate stories about military families in their shows and movies. “Army Wives” creator Katherine Fugate says that shows like “Glee” and “Grey’s Anatomy” followed suit by featuring episodes with military characters. She credits the first lady’s ability to connect with audiences — and with people individually.




“For so many people, television and movies may be the only way they understand people who aren’t like them,” she says. “And when I come across many little black girls who come up to me over the course of this 7½ years with tears in their eyes, and they say: ‘Thank you for being a role model for me. I don’t see educated black women on TV, and the fact that you’re first lady validates who I am….’”She adds, “My mom says it all the time: ‘People are so enamored of Michelle and Barack Obama.’ And she says, ‘There are millions of Michelle and Barack Obamas.’ We’re not new. We’re not special. People who come from intact families who are educated, who have values, who care for their kids, who raise their kids — if you don’t see that on TV, and you don’t live in communities with people like me, you never know who we are, and you can make and be susceptible to all sorts of assumptions and stereotypes and biases, based on nothing but what you see and hear on TV. So it becomes very important for the world to see different images of each other, so that, again, we can develop empathy and understanding.”

More here


131 Responses to “First Lady Michelle Obama: Leader. Icon. Change Maker.”

  1. 1 Betsy
    August 24, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hi NerdyWonka. Spectacular picture of our First Lady.

  2. 6 Judith Fardig
    August 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Congratulations,Betsy, and endless thanks to Nerdy for bringing us the stupendous star power of Michelle Obama (oh and her husband)! 🙂

  3. August 24, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    HTG, more than once have I thought that this family was surely sent by some Higher Power to remind us, in every single thing they do, what we humans have the potential to be… The quiet, steady, joyful heartbeat of decency, kindness, generosity, intelligence, compassion, wit, and capability, somehow unaffected by the ever-deepening cesspool of our worst qualities into which so much of our “society” seems hell-bent to suffocate us. Thank god for their presence…

    • 12 CEB
      August 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      So true. I am older than both of them, but by their examples they have helped me to hold on to goodness and to kindness and to the view that most people in this country are good and kind as well. The optimism that they show us and speak about helps me to know that “we are not as divided as our politics may indicate.” They each are more Christian than any of those who have used that designation in public life for the past two decades or so.

  4. 13 CEB
    August 24, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    People forget that MO started out in the entertainment law section of her law firm.
    One of the main things that I love about MO is that she is self-aware and always authentic. She knows exactly who she is and feels no need to try to be anything other than that. This strength of character is one of the things that has helped her to keep it moving, eyes always on the prize through all of the racist slings and arrows that she has had to put up with (without threatening to sue people like Melania has done). She, like so many Black women in the public eye (think of how Serena, Zendaya, Gabby Douglas and Leslie Jones to name a few) have been savaged in the press just for being who they are; unapologetically Black and gifted slaying the haters by just being who they are. Many women of all ethnicities and persuasions have to put up with crap when they excel. The way the Olympic female athletes (who alone won more medals than most counties) had their success attributed to men or barely mentioned at times. To add insult to injury, we are still paid less than the men who are not our equals in skill, abilities, and success (that article that was posted yesterday about A-A women being the most educated group in our country, but the least paid was no surprise to anyone I know). MO is every woman in many ways and because she knows this and what it means to women and girls all over the world, she has been our Ambassador and she has never let us down.

  5. 14 arapaho415
    August 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    GA TODville.

    Saw on the previous thread vc’s reminder of Danny’s 3rd BD. Hope he has a sunny, splendiferous day, splashing about in a cold creek with a stick his mouth. Miss Chips and her boy. 😦

    What a wonderful man we have as President. Have no idea how we’ll be able to cope next January…

  6. 15 jackiegrumbacher
    August 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    One of Michelle Obama’s many great talents is her ability to appear accessible and warm to everyone who sees or meets her. With her smile, hugs, approachable manner, she draws people to her and shines in any venue she enters–from Buckingham palace to homeless shelters. While she makes important strides in such areas as children’s health, girls education, and the plight of military families, she also leaves every individual happier for having met her. The iconic First Ladies of my lifetime–Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, each in their own way made significant contributions, although Jackie Kennedy’s time on the stage was brief. But none of them exuded the warmth that Michelle Obama does or seemed so genuine and easy to hug. Michelle O has brought the White House to the people, calling it the people’s house from day one. She opened her herself to us and, in the process, stole all of our hearts.

    • 16 Judith Fardig
      August 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Beautifully said, Jackie!

    • 18 arapaho415
      August 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      GE JackieG.

      One of the (many, many) things I LOVE about FLOTUS (and SLOTUS) is that by the actions they take, they have inspired younger leaders to begin action on their initiatives in that leader’s local community.

      For example, in New Mexico:

      On the availability of healthy food:


      • 19 arapaho415
        August 24, 2016 at 6:25 pm

        On combatting veteran homelessness (countless others are working to end this sad situation in many communities across the country):

    • 20 Betsy
      August 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      This Jackie! You stated so perfectly what Michelle Obama means to all of us.

    • 21 FoxfireTX
      August 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Couldn’t agree more Jackie. It is that warmth, on top of every other gift she possesses, that sets her apart from all the rest and makes her shine. Like her husband, we won’t see another like her in our lifetimes.

  7. 22 0388jojothecat
    August 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Happy Birthday COS and to our Dannysticks Hope you both are having a great BD.

    Michelle Robinson-Obama is just lovely inside and out. America will be lucky to have another FLOTUS as graceful as her in my lifetime.

  8. 23 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2016 at 5:34 pm

  9. 24 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2016 at 5:36 pm

  10. 29 Dudette
    August 24, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  11. 31 pkayden
    August 24, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Love those photos of FLOTUS. I hope we all go out and support the movie about their first date, “Southside With You”, this weekend so it’s a box office smash. This is the first time I recall a box office movie being made about a sitting President. Looking forward to watching it and learning more about my favorite political couple.

  12. 32 arapaho415
    August 24, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Breaking news (especially for Nena and Alice in MN):

  13. 35 JER
    August 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm

  14. 36 JER
    August 24, 2016 at 6:33 pm

  15. August 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    New CNN poll has Trump leading in Arizona and it’s tied in North Carolina. So last week Hillary was leading by about 9 in N.C. now it is tie. Smelly fishy.

    • 38 Wanda N VA 4Obama
      August 24, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      The MSM has decided that they want to bash Hillary, Bill and the Clinton Foundation 24/7 this week. I expect to see her numbers go down. Let’s see what happens when they attempt to hold Trump accountable for his many shady business dealings. Well….if they decide to attempt to hold him accountable.

    • August 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Different pollster. I’ll take Marist polls any day over CNN.

  16. 40 Marlz (@marjgra)
    August 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Saw this on my facebook timeline and watched it a few times…especially the end!

    • 41 purpleshoesla
      August 24, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      Awwww…. how precious. Thank you for posting. I don’t know what I’m gonna do either come Jan 20 2017

  17. 42 0388jojothecat
    August 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I’m gonna miss Obama tooooo…..now I’m gonna cry toooooo….. 😦

  18. August 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm

  19. August 24, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    FLOTUS endlessly beautiful inside and out! Thanks Nerdy for highlighting this story.

  20. August 24, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Even though he goes out of his way to pay as little taxes as possible…or no taxes at all

    • 49 0388jojothecat
      August 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Taxation without representation….the GOP white men loves this except when it’s PERCEIVED to be done to them. I’ll never forget when I was in Las Vegas and this older white guy was telling me how when he worked at a ranch in AZ they would hire men from Mexico and would take taxes out of their pay then send them home……I told him, first what he was doing was ILLEGAL, then that his employer had NO RIGHT to take taxes out of a worker’s paycheck that is just WAGE THEFT. Those people were not living in the USA because you made sure they went home. What SS# did they use back then in the 1940’s or 1950’s. He looked at me like I had horns on my head. He didn’t think anyone would challenge that B.S.

  21. August 24, 2016 at 6:49 pm

  22. 54 JER
    August 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    The First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education today announced ThinkZone Games as the grand prize winner in the Reach Higher Career App Challenge, a prize competition to promote the development of mobile app solutions that will help students navigate education and career pathways, including career and technical education (CTE). ThinkZone Games will receive $100,000 and additional sponsor prizes for its career exploration mobile app Hats & Ladders. To learn more, please go to http://www.edprizes.com

  23. August 24, 2016 at 7:08 pm

  24. August 24, 2016 at 7:10 pm

  25. 57 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 7:17 pm

  26. August 24, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    WGN America Developing ‘Black Wall Street’ From ‘Underground’ EPs & Tika Sumpter

    EXCLUSIVE: With Season 2 of Underground about to go into production, WGN America and Get Lifted Film Co. are deepening their relationship on American hidden history with another series. The company run by John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorious has inked a deal for early development on Black Wall Street, I’ve learned. Added to the mix is Get Lifted alum and Obamas first-date pic Southside with You actress-producer Tika Sumpter as an exec producer.

    With additional time to get the deal in place for the WME-repped The Haves and the Have Nots star Sumpter in place, the overall agreement about the project focusing on what became one of the largest mass killings of African-Americans in the nation’s history came together pretty quickly, I’ve heard.

  27. August 24, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    • 62 arapaho415
      August 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      GE JER and thank you!

      Looking forward to seeing Pete Souza’s amazing tribute to our natural wonders, the incomparable National Park Service.

  28. August 24, 2016 at 7:52 pm

  29. 64 Nerdy Wonka
    August 24, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Irony is a funny thing indeed.

  30. August 24, 2016 at 7:54 pm


  31. August 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    A Timeline of Leslie Jones’s Horrific Online Abuse
    August 24, 2016
    3:44 p.m.

    Today in awful news, Leslie Jones’s personal website has been taken down after being targeted by a vicious hack. Hackers infiltrated the site with what appeared to be naked photos of the comedian, as well as images of her passport and driver’s license, private photos of her with various celebrities, and a photo of dead gorilla (and meme that refuses to die) Harambe.

  32. 68 Allison
    August 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm

  33. August 24, 2016 at 7:59 pm

  34. August 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Hillary campaign need to get POTUS, FLOTUS, and VP Biden out campaigning now.

    • 71 Allison
      August 24, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Bella, I think POTUS and FLOTUS will start campaigning after Labor Day

    • 73 arapaho415
      August 24, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      GE annieb.

      Both @VP and PBO are a bit busy now… with their day jobs.

      Our Man Joe left Ankara Turkey today and is now in Stockholm Sweden:

      PBO will be on his historic Asia trip (first visit by US President to Laos ever) during the first week of September, then the UN General Assembly convenes in NYC in September too.

      Congress will be back next month too, but doubtful they have any intent to #DoTheirJobs. And early voting in some states starts next month — not sure when, but looking forward to PBO on the campaign trail, firing up HRC supporters.


      • August 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm

        I know the President and VP are busy, but there is no excitement with Hillary and Tim Kaine. We need folks to be fire up and ready to go kick Trump crazy racists ass.

  35. August 24, 2016 at 8:03 pm

  36. August 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    • 77 arapaho415
      August 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      GE rikyrah.

      It gets worse…

      Never could stand Lochte, even before this year’s Olympics — he had “privileged white elite frat boy” written all over him — think it kind of turned me off from the summer Olympics entirely.

      • 78 Obama Grandmama
        August 24, 2016 at 11:34 pm

        I tried to post a comment on how I would not be watching DWTS this next season due to their decision to have Ryan Lochte as part of their cast. Then it would not post due to not recognizing my password. Grrrr. I said he was not a good representative for the US at the Olympics and there were many other Olympians much more deserving. That I was a regular viewer of the show and could not watch this coming season.

  37. August 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks, everyone.

  38. August 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    First Lady Michelle Obama is in a class by herself.

  39. 84 arapaho415
    August 24, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    GE TODville.

    Article from Cincinnati about PBO’s response to a local Ohio woman.

    My response…

  40. 85 GGAIL
    August 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    NW, thank you for posting this 💕

  41. August 24, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    hat tip- POU

    by Chaz Ebert

    …A bigger reason for writing about this movie is the hope that it can put the viewer in touch with the tender points in their hearts. I get soul-sick reading daily stories and seeing visuals about gun violence in Chicago. Being fed a steady barrage of this can turn your heart to stone. I don’t want the children of Chicago or our nation to think this violence is the norm. I don’t want them to walk around in fear of going out to play, fear of walking to school, fear of each other. I am so grateful that Richard Tanne presented the other side of Chicago, especially the southside, with cultural activities and peaceful neighbors, and the daily activities of life that have nothing to do with guns or violence. I want children to see something on the screen to give them hope that just maybe if a man can go from being a community organizer in Chicago to occupying the White House, there is a chance for them.

  42. 88 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    so, home grown racists aren’t enough that you had to import a foreign one from across the pond?

  43. August 24, 2016 at 9:03 pm

  44. 90 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm

  45. August 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm

  46. 92 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:06 pm

  47. 93 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:06 pm

  48. 94 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    simple. white privilege.

  49. 96 vcprezofan2
    August 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm

  50. 106 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    mebbe we could train them?

  51. 107 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:20 pm

  52. August 24, 2016 at 9:21 pm

  53. 111 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:22 pm

  54. August 24, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Have had Rachel on mute since she came on. Will not listen to this bimbo.

    • 113 Wanda N VA 4Obama
      August 24, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      I refuse to listen to her too Tnmtngirl. I’ve been turning back and forth to Rachel to see if she’s still on. Is she going to be on the entire show? Sheesh!!

      • August 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        She was still on few minutes ago–after 9:30!!! I got off my treadmill so I turned off the TV.

        btw, where do you live in NOVA? We lived in Fairfax Station for 9 years; Springfield for one year, then Fairfax for last 7 years we were there.

    • 116 FoxfireTX
      August 24, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      You’re doing better than me. I turned it off and took it off of a record. I’ll be damned if I’ll give her ratings when she has this liar on her show.

    • August 24, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      I flipped the channel; had some real housewives show on; better than giving Rach ratings…

  55. August 24, 2016 at 9:29 pm

  56. August 24, 2016 at 9:41 pm

  57. 121 Obama Grandmama
    August 24, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    KellyAnn Conway, Trump’s new manager is being interviewed on Rachel tonight. What worries me about her is she appears to be a soft spoken, calm voice answering questions in the total opposite manner than Trump. Talk about softening the image and skewing to the middle! Rachel is doing a good job of countering her points, but I hope the manager does not make headway towards getting him more votes cuz people like KellyAnn.

  58. 125 FoxfireTX
    August 24, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    So I had an appointment to get my hair cut today with my longtime stylist of more than 10 years. He too is a huge Obama fan, so I had to ask him if he had seen the Variety photos. He had not, so while he cut my hair I pulled them up on my phone:-) Of course, the first thing he goes to is her hair, and he is thrilled with the way she has been wearing it. But he also loved the dress and all the poses. From there we went on to the their convention speeches, etc. He mentioned that he wishes they could stay in the WH, and how awful it will be if Trump wins. Even in deep red TX, we Obamabots manage to find one another in the funniest places!

  59. 127 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    and then skedaddled outta there.

  60. 128 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 10:00 pm

  61. 129 Ladyhawke
    August 24, 2016 at 10:04 pm


  62. 131 amk for obama
    August 24, 2016 at 10:24 pm

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