Women to Admire: Michelle Obama


Michelle Obama may no longer be the FLOTUS, but her lasting commitment to the community has made her one of a kind. That’s why she’s one of our Women to Admire.

First things first: as a Chicagoan, we all have a huge sense of pride for any of our people who make it big. That means Chance the Rapper, Jennifer Hudson, and of course, Michelle Obama.

It’s funny to think that we all come from the same community, one that developed a reputation for violence and poverty due to a long history of systematic oppression. However, stories like Michelle Obama’s seem to prove that bad reputation doesn’t have to be true.

She grew up on the South Side of Chicago and was a bright mind from the start. After attending the best high school in the city (which alums like my dad will never stop bragging about), she went straight to Princeton University. Teachers tried to convince her not to go, but she was smart and went anyway.

After attending her first Ivy League school, she was on to the next, earning her law degree from Harvard Law School — one of the most prestigious law schools in the world.

People who have seen the movie Southside with You might know the story from here. After establishing her career, she later met Barack Obama in Chicago, who wooed over her during a movie date. The rest, as they say, is history.

One could go on about Michelle’s accolades, advances at the White House and impact on the world. But one recent story best illustrates the impact Michelle has had, and why her legacy is so important.

After the unveiling of Michelle’s portrait in Washington, DC, one family went to see it in the National Portrait Gallery. A young 2-year-old girl, Parker, was left awestruck at the painting — so awestruck that she didn’t even turn around to let her mother take a proper picture. And so the photo of her staring up at Michelle, bright eyes and in awe, went viral.

Her mother said in the above-linked story:

"I realized that she believes Michelle Obama is a queen, and she wants to be a queen as well. . . . As a female and as a girl of color, it’s really important that I show her people who look like her that are doing amazing things and are making history so that she knows she can do it."

As a big surprise, Parker even got to meet Michelle and express just how much she admires her.

Anybody can look up to Michelle Obama, but her success story truly serves as an inspiration to those of us who come from marginalized backgrounds. The photo, to me, represents staring into the future — where a young person like Parker can dream of becoming whatever she wants, even president of the United States, all thanks to Michelle.

So, as a fan of your Vines, I have to say: Wow, Michelle. Great work! Keep it up. We’re proud of you!

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For more on her, read Becoming. She’s still active in politics and social progress, and that’s why she continues to inspire us every day.

Editor’s Note: Every day in March, we here at Culturess will feature a Woman to Admire — both real and fictional — for Women’s History Month. Keep coming back every day to see who’s made it on the list.