Black Community: Michelle Obama – An Example of Authenticity.

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( Every generation is blessed to have examples of poise, character, strength and class. Every role model has had challenges to face that can seem larger than life at times; it is how they manage and overcome said challenges that make people want to follow them. Black history is filled with people that we consider leaders that feel personal to us. In their only way, from a distance, they teach us about life and living. Through witnessing their strength, we feel more compelled to tap into our own dreams and move with purpose. Granted as they speak their truth, they can check us on realistic expectations or call us to conduct self in a better way that will make us stronger. This can be uncomfortable as they may say things we don’t want to acknowledge, but it is just as important as the empowered positions.

Former First Lady - Michelle Obama.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is a dynamic example of authenticity, poise, grace, reality, and power under control. She has been a shining example of demanding space by simply stepping into it. Her authenticity, and transparency about womanhood, being a wife, motherhood, marriage, facing adversity, and even her time in the White House. Though it may not have bee her intention, she has given women roadmap that is based in her transparency and above all things she is honest.

I must admit, after reading both books written by Michelle Obama, I absolutely love her ability to be authentic when sharing her life with millions. Many of us watched this beautiful black woman stand beside her husband when he decided to run for a Senate seat. We watched her stand beside him when he ran for president. She did not allow the women of the past, as none of them are black women, who had campaigned with their husbands to change who she was, what she would wear, nor how she would address the American people. This woman has been high caliber from day one in presentation and education. One can only image the anxiety and even fear over how much of herself she should present…and she chose authenticity. We can never accuse Michelle Obama of creating an image for herself that didn’t align with who she is at her core. This is something so many of us can learn from as we live in a society, as black women, that push us to be a version of ourselves that is palatable, but in the end, it betrays who we really are as an individual.

Everyone loved the statement, “When they go low, we go high”; it sounds great. However, did we truly understand what the statement embodied. It would mean we wouldn’t act out how we felt at any given moment due to offense. It would mean we might not get instant retaliation, and maybe we shouldn’t seek it. The statement could be seen as obtaining the moral high ground and keeping it. It means we ought not aim to “match energy” in every situation. For some of us, this might now be too much. However, we watched Michelle Obama go high for eight plus years, we watched her he the embodiment of poise and grace as she was ridiculed, taunted and belittled….as the racial slurs flew. One could argue that no first lady was as disrespected, and the disrespect be allowed as Michelle Obama. She was an active hands-on mother, education, married, and as well presented as any first lady before her yet the vitriol against her and her children was vicious. Yet, everyday she made a choice to “go high”.

In her books Michelle Obama is transparent about marriage. It is obvious, and conveyed, that she loves her husband. Yet, she is able to express her love her him while acknowledging marriage is work, and sometimes it can almost bring you to the bring of breaking apart. She doesn’t make it a case of everything he does wrong. Michelle Obama was honest about her sacrifice, she shortcomings, and learning to understand the differences between she and her husband. I’ve heard some women complain that Michelle Obama’s transparency about marriage could derail younger women from wanting to get married. The truth is she was honest about what marriage is. Think about how many of us go through changes with family, or even our best friend, because there are differences that have to be respected and worked through. Every relationship will require sacrifice, growth, tolerance, and literally doing the work.

Some marriages mature with time, it’s supposed to get better with time as you grow and learn. Regarding marriage, she may not have told us what we wanted to hear…but she was honest and authentic. Furthermore, she wasn’t telling anyone how to navigate marriage per se; she was more so honest about how she navigated marriage. I learned so much from reading about the realities she came to terms with about herself as a wife and then a mother.

Michelle Obama is a name for our generation. No matter how ugly and vile society treated her she was, and is, our Forever First Lady. This isn’t the case just because she is a black woman, but because the kind of black woman she represents. She’s the embodiment of intelligence, grace, class, style, elegance, and the adjectives can go on for days. However, of all the things she embodies her authenticity stands out as a master class. She taught us to go high as we watched her do it under unfair scrutiny. She showed us how to access self, be accountable to self and expect such of others. She has written two books whereby she shares her vulnerable authentic self while teaching all of us. For years to come she will continue to be a model and a reminder to be authentic no matter what in all things.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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