Michelle Obama really is a force to be reckoned with.
Last week I had the pleasure of being one of the 15,000 to see her live at the 02 as part of her Penguin book tour: Becoming.
With a combination of quiet grace and power, she has such immense presence. I have never been so captivated by anyone quite like her and I wasn’t alone. In an auditorium of over 15,000 you could hear a pin drop. People (mostly women) were hanging off of her every word.
She spoke a little about her upbringing, her dating Barack Obama, the beauty of humanity she witnessed whilst being the First Lady and also the worst of humanity.
She also spoke of the socio-political climate in the US and the UK and her great love of working with children and the power they have as the next generation and the huge responsibility we have to lead by example.
She spoke about the huge need for us to start connecting with each other again – in REAL life and the detrimental impact of not doing this. We have become disconnected. People are feeling the effects of trauma and societal change right now, Michelle got tearful when she acknowledged this. She also spoke of us living in an era of diversity and inclusion and change and feeling the conflict of that.
Change is not easy.
In fact diversity is not easy. You’d think it was, but the fact we’re still talking about diversity in 2019 shows that we still haven’t figured out who to enable, embrace and live with and benefit from the beauty and richness of diversity.
In order of us to push through this transition, to have huge transformation in this area, there is going to be conflict, there is going to be discomfort and it’s going to take patience, courage, understanding and a whole lot of being uncomfortable. And that’s the crux of it, not many people want to choose to get uncomfortable. But as Michelle said we cannot become complacent, we have work to do, it’s vital for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in and get to work.
She is quite a formidable woman and although I would have loved it if she had a different interviewer who may have had the desire to wean out more about the HUGE impact she has and continues to have on women, especially black women (who I would say occupied around 85% of the arena) and how she navigated dealing with racism and character assassinations on a daily basis in office – there was still great learning to be had about the importance of us all taking responsibility to be the change we want to see.
What a pleasure to be in this incredible woman’s presence, a moment I won’t forget in a hurry.