Michelle Obama: Oprah Winfrey "is who she appears to be"
UPI News Service, 04/20/2023
Michelle Obama visited "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" in support of her latest New York Times bestseller, "The Light We Carry."
The former first lady was promoting her book in advance of her Netflix special of the same name with Oprah Winfrey, premiering on April 25.
"The Light We Carry" is also a podcast where Obama talks to various celebrities and public figures about their own light and how they find it and reflect it to others.
The 58-year-old wore a denim suit and braids with the rest of her hair flowing.
She talked about everything from her White House return to see her and husband Barack Obama's official portraits hung and working with Oprah Winfrey, whose friendship she values.
"Oprah was one of the very early supporters before Barack was even thinking about running," Obama told Fallon.
"She spotted him when he was a U.S. Senator, and she has been that person who never asks for anything but is always there with her generosity and support."
"There isn't anything you can't ask her to do if you're a friend that she won't try to do. She is who she appears to be. I'm lucky to call her a friend."
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Obama also talked about her famous statement from the Democratic Convention in 2016. "They go low, we go high," is now the title of a chapter in the book.
"People still keep asking me, 'Do you still mean that?'" she said.
"I didn't know I'd be known for that line, but I'm proud of that. People ask me do I ever go low? And...yeah. I go low. I go low a lot of times."
"But for people who have a platform, who are being looked up to, we have a responsibility to stay high because kids are watching us. If you need to go low, do it at home. Do it at your kitchen table, with your spouse. We set the example because leaders set the tone, and we felt what it felt like to be led with low. And it didn't feel great."
Obama dedicated "The Light We Carry" to her parents.
Her mother, Marian Robinson famously moved into the White House with the Obamas to help them with their daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are now 25 and 21 respectively.
Obama says her mother deserved a chapter but says she had to ask permission to include her.
"My parents are where I get any wisdom that I have. The fact that she allowed me to even say her name in the book is a big deal, because Marian Robinson isn't impressed with anything, at any time," Obama says.
One of Robinson's adages is "Come home because we will always like you here." Obama says that helped instill confidence in her and her older brother, Craig.
"She said that because she knew as kids of color, as a young Black woman in the world that I would be confronted in the world with a lot of people that would set my bar low for me. She knew we were going to hear racial insults."
Obama continued, "She knew what we were going to confront and she never wanted us to get our self-worth from outside the home because she knew we couldn't count on it. So that maxim is 'Don't sweat the small stuff.' Don't lose it because a teacher doesn't like you, because somebody called you a bad word. Don't let your self-esteem be based on that. Get your self-worth at home."
As a mentor and an inspirational figure who earned enormous support throughout her eight years as First Lady, Obama is mindful of her mother's example and follows it as she moves in the world.
She added, "It's an important thing for adults to remember as we deal with young people because our words to them matter. What we say, how we treat them, it has an impact, because some kids don't have a home to go to feel that love."
"I think about that every time I interact with a kid, that my interaction with them may be the only time they feel safe, and they feel at home."
Obama also did one of Fallon's patented skits.
In a "Bookstore Surprise" they talked to bookstore patrons who were browsing tables with Obama's book.
Using a microphone set up to look like a recorded message on a wall display, they admonished one set of browsers who seemed reluctant to buy the book, and made others follow Simon Says commands.
They then emerged from behind the wall to take pictures with the surprised shoppers.
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