Archive for the 'Articles' Category

10
Aug
19

Michelle Obama Is Everything!

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I was just 2 years old when Michelle Obama became first lady. When I was growing up, she was always just there, smiling on the covers of magazines, surrounded by groups of kids in the White House gardens, holding hands with her husband. At that time, I didn’t have a concept of who she really was. But as I got older I began to realize how important she was—and the impact she was having on my generation. I learned more about her in Becoming, her memoir, in which she tells the story of her journey from Chicago’s South Side to the White House. Her voice is honest and often vulnerable, especially when she experiences change, like going to a new high school or becoming the first lady. Frequently she asks herself, “Am I good enough?” But she is also mesmerizing and determined, asserting herself as a force from a young age. Michelle Obama doesn’t use her book to preach, though. Instead she shares her ideas with the world through storytelling. As a journalist, that’s how I communicate too—by knocking on doors and asking people to share their stories. And so when I got the chance to interview her, my goal was simple: to uncover more about the ideas behind her stories and how they can inspire us all, regardless of our politics.

More here

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30
Jul
19

Michelle And Meghan

22
Jun
19

Podcasts On Podcasts

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“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said in a statement provided by Spotify. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”

Michelle Obama said, “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts.”

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29
May
19

Renaissance Of The Written Word

29
Jan
19

The Sun Came Out

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Lyndsey Parker

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For two years in a row, Barack Obama has included tracks from By the Way, I Forgive You, “The Joke” and “Every Time I Hear That Song” on his Spotify playlists. The irony isn’t lost on me that “The Joke,” which was inspired by the fallout from the 2016 presidential election, was celebrated by a president very different from the one currently in the White House…

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Well, I certainly have a lot of respect for [Obama], and I think the irony of what you pointed out is certainly an interesting perspective too. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re right. And if you listen closely to “The Joke,” you can hear him in it. You can hear Obama’s influence on me in that song. He influenced me in big ways during his presidency. I saw my parents get health insurance for the first time. I proposed to my wife on the day that he became the first American president ever to come out in support of marriage equality — and it had always bothered me that he hadn’t up until that point. I had the ring for a long time, and I had been waiting for the opportunity to propose to Catherine [Shepherd, who is British], but we kept hitting roadblocks with DOMA. We kept hitting roadblocks with the airports and the borders, and getting to and from the U.S. together without having to lie about our relationship. We were very discouraged at the time. So when [Obama] came out [in support of gay marriage], it was like the sun came out.

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There are detractors out there who think artists should just “shut up and sing” and keep politics out of music…

Being told to “stop being political” is just hilarious to me. I wake up every day political: a gay mom raising a house full of women. There’s really nothing not political about that. So, I can write about my own personal experience and have it be wildly political. That just happens to be the life and the hand I was dealt.

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More here

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05
Jan
19

Q&A With The First Lady

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The Guardian

How did your mother, Marian Robinson, help you to be effective as a first lady?
Carole King, singer-songwriter

My mother helped me in very practical ways, like riding with Malia and Sasha to and from school when they were little, and caring for them at home when Barack and I had to be away for an event or an international conference. It was such a relief to know that she was always there as our backstop. And the girls loved it, too. Grandma’s rules were a little more lax than they were when I was growing up. I would sometimes ask her, “Where was that attitude when I was growing up?” She’d just laugh the way she always does. She loves being a grandmother. Beyond the practical side, though, my mom was my support in even deeper ways. She was often home when I’d come back to the residence after a day of work, sitting in her chair, watching Judge Judy or something like that. We’d just chat about everything – what she’d heard from the girls, how my day was going, anything that was on my mind.

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Were there any rooms in the White House that you weren’t allowed into? Why not?
Otis Barkey and Aston Barnes, both 10, Abel Smith primary school, Hertford

I love the way you think! The White House was our daughters’ home for most of their childhood. They lived there longer than any other house we’ve lived in. And I wanted to make sure that they felt like we lived in a home, not a museum. So it was important to me that we could go wherever we wanted in the White House – no restrictions!

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What’s the one moment you wish you could freeze in time?
Katy Perry, singer

I’m not one for a lot of nostalgia, honestly. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back or pining for what used to be. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind revisiting that summer when I first met Barack. It was magic. My father was still with us. I was living back home in Chicago and was exploring the world as a young professional. And then, this brilliant summer associate shows up, slowly chipping away at my defenses and eventually winning me over with his perspective, his grounded nature, his sense of humor. And oh, that smile

More here

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09
Nov
18

Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More

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Krissah Thompson: In Revealing New Memoir, Michelle Obama Candidly Shares Her Story

As Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir “Becoming” arrives, it’s clear that the former first lady is occupying a space in the culture beyond politics. “I don’t think anybody will be necessarily prepared to read a memoir like this — especially coming from a first lady,” said Shonda Rhimes, the television producer, who read an advance copy of Obama’s book. The first-lady memoir is a rite of passage, but Obama’s is different by virtue of her very identity. “Becoming” takes her historic status as the first black woman to serve as first lady and melds it deftly into the American narrative. She writes of the common aspects of her story and — as the only White House resident to count an enslaved great-great-grandfather as an ancestor — of its singular sweep. “The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she writes. “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”

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She divides the memoir into three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More. The first section is a deep, often sociological exploration of Chicago and the people and institutions there. Its textured discussion of gentrification, public education, race and class are reminders that Obama majored in sociology and minored in African American studies at Princeton University. The second section, Becoming Us, is a romp through her romance with Barack Obama, starting a family with him and her search for work that she loved. It begins with words that have never before been written by a first lady about her man: “As soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack, the feelings came rushing — a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” She also shares intimate details for the first time, for instance, that she and her husband had trouble getting pregnant, suffered a miscarriage, and that both daughters were conceived through in vitro fertilization. And that she did a great deal of this while her husband was away serving in the state legislature, leaving her to administer the shots that are a part of that process herself.

More here

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03
Nov
18

Checking Out Doesn’t Pay Off

11
Oct
18

Global Girls Alliance

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Donate Here

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13
Sep
18

Dear Mr. President

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Jeanne Marie Laskas

A girl doesn’t want her mum to be deported, and can the president please help? A guy finally admits to his wife that he’s gay, and now he would like to tell the president. A car dealer writes to say his bank is shut­ting him down, and thanks for nothing, Mr President. A vet who can’t stop seeing what he saw in Iraq writes a barely intelligible rant that makes his point all the more intelligible: “Help.” An inmate admits to selling crack, but he wants the president to know he is not a lost cause: “I have dreams Mr President, big dreams.” A man can’t find a job. A woman can’t find a job. A teacher with advanced certification can’t find a damn job. A lesbian couple just got married; thank you, Mr President. A man sends his medical bills; a woman sends her student loan statements; a child sends her drawing of a cat; a mother sends her teen­ager’s report card – straight As, isn’t that awesome, Mr President?

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The Letters In Pictures

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I noticed that over by his desk, on a wall, he had hung the framed letter from Natoma Canfield; Obama had said she reminded him of his mum, who died at 52 of a similar cancer. The letter had stood as a reminder to him of his commitment to healthcare reform. “The only instruction I gave was that I wanted every packet to be representative,” he continued. “And understanding that it wouldn’t be perfect. It didn’t mean that, you know, out of every 10 letters, there had to be two positive and two negative and three neutral and one funny. It wasn’t formulaic like that. But that was the one thing I insisted on – that this is not useful to me if all I’m getting are, you know, ‘happy birthday’ wishes. And I think they did a won­derful job of channelling the American people in that way.”

More here

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