Michelle Obama Promotes New Memoir ‘Becoming’

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  • Michelle Obama recounts a memory from her time spent in the White House.

  • Michelle Obama discusses her new book ‘Becoming’.

  • Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray converse on stage.

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The air pulsed with anticipation and the crowd cheered as the lights began to dim. A slideshow illuminated the screen in the front of the stadium and, as music surrounded the audience, photos appeared on the screen. The pictures depicted the familiar face of Michelle Obama, along with her family members, her husband Mr. Barack Obama and their two daughters. Every picture evoked gasps and claps from the audience, all tinged with memory of the unforgettable eight-year presidency.

As the photos began to fade, the stage was draped in darkness and a group of people walked out. They held up their microphones and one by one, the stage lights illuminated them. They told the audience what their goals and aspirations were and who they ultimately wanted to become, nodding at Ms. Obama’s new memoir Becoming. After a brief introduction by TV personality Rachael Ray, Ms. Obama walked out stage. Screaming and roaring applause followed as she greeted the crowd with a friendly smile.

Becoming commenced Ms. Obama’s writing career and set her out into the public scene once again after serving as first lady. Her book tour sent her traveling across the country, with a stop here in Austin on Feb. 28. Depicted in her memoir, Ms. Obama opens up about her life experience, both before and after the White House. Her book is rich with stories, memories, and most importantly is an honest depiction of the trials and tribulations she has faced and how she has become stronger fighting those challenges.

The night began with her recounting stories of her young life as well as snippets of her book. Several highlights of her conversation with Rachael Ray focused on aspects of her book. Ms. Obama started by saying that despite what many may assume about her relationship with her husband, his political career did create a gap between them for many years. Her honesty to the crowd was invigorating and she helped humanize a relationship that has been unrealistically thought of by the public. She shared such personal thoughts which really helped her connect with the audience. She went on to address the importance of compassion, especially towards others you might disagree with, and that polarizing people from yourself because you don’t know what is happening in their lives is negative.

Ms. Obama moved on to discuss that men, especially fathers, are important figures in a girl’s life and that strong males help mold empowered female. She said that they should teach women that they deserve respect and love. She joked that since her father treated her with warmth and kindness all her life that “the bar was set high” when she began a relationship with Barack Obama. After, when Rachael Ray asked her if she would be running for president, a highly anticipated question, she gave a firm “Nope. Not gonna happen.” Despite not running in 2020, she is still working towards her activism efforts. She is also seeing that new youthful leaders are shaped and taking hold of the political and leadership foreground.

Ms. Obama next addressed one of the most distinctive moments in her book. She talked about the emotional day when she and Mr. Obama attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration. She humbly admitted that she cried for half an hour that day, which takes courage to say in front of a packed audience. She showcased her bravery by revealing just how strenuous the ceremony had been due to both the end of an era and the stark difference of the successor to the Oval Office. She added that she was in tears because the energy of the inauguration was so different from the inauguration ceremony of her husband. Ms. Obama stated that the atmosphere of that day deeply differed from the inauguration of President Obama and that “their version of a America” wasn’t a representation of America as a diverse community. She remarked that she was proud that in those years that her and her husband were in the White House, scandal was never a recurring theme in their administration, quipping a reference to President Trump. Once she talked about this, she began diffusing those ideas into the larger conversation.

If one thing resonated the most with the stadium, it was the words she left the audience to mull over as she concluded speaking. “We are hearing a version of this country that I want to assure people is not the version I saw over the last decade,” she said, hinting at the state of apathy that is becoming prominent in today’s America. “We are a country becoming, we are not there yet but it’s a constant evolutionary process,” she said with a determined tone in her voice. “In order to do it you have to remain hopeful and active. Change is not going to happen passively, no one is going to do it for us so we have to be prepared to do so ourselves.”

Through the course of the night, the First Lady gave insight into her life with hilarious commentary and lovable stories, yet still addressed subjects of importance and ingrained into the minds and ears of many that hope will carry us through as a country.