To my Auntie, Michelle LaVaughn [Robinson] Obama:
“My forever First Lady”, “The Closer”, “Renaissance”…
Thank you. Thank you for making the girl in me in 2008, believe in the woman that I am now in 2017. Over the course of these past 8 years there has been much debate surrounding the legitimacy of your position and your influence. People have wondered whether or not the imagery of you and your husband were enough, if [you] were enough. So let me start by saying this, for the little black girl in me, you were more than enough.
I think all black and brown women possess a ‘little black or brown girl’ inside of them that never quite grew up. A little girl that was never given the proper attention, love, encouragement, appreciation or patience that all little girls long for – yet, most girls of color are denied in society. But you, Auntie Michelle, you became the mentor that spoke to all the little girls inside of us.
You showed us what we could be, but most importantly, you showed the world what they have failed to see for so long. You have embodied class and grace, while you simultaneously stood confidently in your truths as intelligence and kindness consistently flowed from your lips. You repeatedly defied all stereotypes they tried to brand you with, you reclaimed and polished the damaged identity known as the ‘[angry] black woman’.
You instructed us to “go high when they go low”, you told us that #blackgirlsrock and that “Women and girls can do whatever they want..” and that “…there is no limit to what we as women can can achieve”. You taught all women alike that is only right that we be educated and ambitious, you made it your mission to, and encouraged the world to “let girls learn”.
Auntie, you have shattered glass ceilings, inspiring us all to aim higher. You entered 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the the most educated and stylish FLOTUS – Princeton and Harvard educated, all while looking radiant and flawless. You boldly, yet humbly showed us how to love ourselves and how to accept the skin that we are in. I cannot count the number of times that we all have shouted “Slay Hunni!!!””Yaasss!!!” and “Come thru, Michelle!!!”. Being a ‘First Lady’ has never looked better!
Oh, and I would be amiss if I failed to mention all of knowledge gems and realness that you have left us with over the years, whether it was during commencement speeches or at any other function. We could always count you, like all of our favorite aunts, to keep it one-hundred!
— You never forgot who [you] are, or your history:
“I wake up everyday in a house that was built by slaves, …” – Michelle Obama’s 2016 DNC Speech
— You always encouraged us to stay focussed on what really matters:
“There is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education. If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States.” – Michelle Obama at Glamour-hosted panel, The Power of an Educated Girl
— You taught how how to deal with negativity and our nay-sayers:
“You know, the bad stuff I just don’t hold on to… A better way to handle things, is to keep it moving… We, as black women, better be able to do it… because there’s so much that comes at us all the time. Every day. In subtle ways that could tear your soul apart if you let it.” – Michelle Obama’s Farewell Address
— You never failed to exemplify kindness, and taught [us] how to be loved:
Michelle – for the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud. – Barack Obama’s “Farewell Address”
Lastly, Auntie Michelle, I just want to simply say ‘thank you’ once more. Thank you for being the epitome of #blackgirlmagic, and allowing us all to witness history. I will never forget how you came into our lives, as well as our homes and inspired us all. Although it is hard to say good-bye, I know we must. It has been an amazing 8 years – and I know I am biased, but we could not have done it with out you.
– As Told by HER, your nieces – all of the ‘little black and brown girls’