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Michelle Obama opened up about her role as first lady during a candid interview with Gayle King at the 2019 Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday.

Wearing a kinky curly wig, the 55-year-old mom-of-two admitted she initially found it difficult to be taken seriously in her role as first lady.

"I would have to earn my grace and I knew I would have to quickly define myself and I want all young girls out there to know - we all struggle with that, people of color, working class folks, women of color," Michelle said. "People try to define us in a negative way before we get a chance to get out there and tell our own stories."

After Barack Obama made history in 2008 by becoming the first biracial president, Michelle quickly became popular with voters and the public. Rather than take a back seat and let her husband lead, Michelle projected the image of an outspoken strong Black first lady, which led to accusations she was "emasculating" her husband, Barack.

"For a minute there, I was an angry black woman who was emasculating her husband," she said. "As I got more popular, that's when people of all sides - Democrats and Republicans - tried to take me out by the knees and the best way to do it was to focus on the one thing people were afraid of: the strength of a black woman."

The couple signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix that will give voices to marginalized groups in society - particularly minorities and the LGBT+ community. An upcoming podcast series is being developed by their Higher Ground production company in conjunction with streaming giant Spotify in advance of the presidential elections in 2020.

Speaking about the Spotify venture in a statement last month, Michelle claimed the podcast will "amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether".

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

  • Neicey

    Nice. And she is ? % correct.

  • LeeSeeCee
  • Rayscoty

    Them poor Black Women at Disney Land ain't have no strength...

  • MSGREENMINUSTHEENVY

    ALLLLLLLL that and more! Love you Michelle!

  • Dontgetdraggedhoe??

    I love her so much
    Im so happy i paid for front seat for her book tour she is everything!!!!!!!

  • Applebum

    Always the married ones who are pushing the strong/independent black women narrative. Their behinds are married and you’re not. Stop listening to them. It’s okay to not be strong or come off strong always. It’s okay to let the man take lead. Black women come off too strong sometimes which is why they don’t think we have feelings and they think that we can take all those punches that they at is.

    There was an incident with that Kamila Harris woman who was on stage and a guy came on the stage, instead of letting security do their job, a dark skinned sister who was interviewing Kamila, jumped up in front of the crazy white guy. For what? The whole time Kamila sat there all feminine and soft. Looking all scared and sweet. Let men do their jobs. Stop trying to be STRONG for everyone else.

  • Coy little wink

    Why do you think it's a wig ?

  • Karen Brady

    You're absolutely right. It could be a sew-in.

  • Coy little wink

    Lol. Or it could be her real hair ?

  • yvette46

    So glad he's not my President anymore!!

  • ReadingIsFundamental4Real

    not that it matters but you know better

  • Coy little wink

    Loolool it could be!

  • ReadingIsFundamental4Real

    Great Michelle, keep it up.

    Okay, so Wendy is on her show putting herself completely out there; tears and all. I'm here for Wendy and her healing. Even though you can work my nerves, I hope you continue using your show and your supportive audience to get well.

  • TheFlow

    Til this day we dont know WTF is Skrong Black woman is. And why those no other race of women feel the need to go around talking about how ''Skrong'' they are every 5 min. Seems like a major insecurity issue to me but go on...

  • Renee26

    Try it again when other races have negative stereotypes affect them like black folks do... Otherwise don't label us doing all we can to break those stereotypes as insecure.

    Black Power! Black Excellence! Black Girl Magic! and Strong Black Women!

    Carry on!

  • Renee26

    Sigh... So if she's not dependent on a man to survive then she deserves that label??

    Let me quit my job and stop handling these responsibilities then... I'm coming off too strong!

  • Renee26

    It's 2019. Women are doing the damned thang and there's still plenty men who appreciate a responsible woman who brings more to the table besides her pretty face, sex and womb.

    Those days of saying women only belong in the bedroom and kitchen are over.

  • ALLMINE?

    Stop pushing this strong shit on black women.. let a woman be a woman.. strong is an adjective for a man..

  • ALLMINE?

    Yooooooo ?????

  • Mazey1

    Little strength but Big mouths.

  • Chulita

    I think people LIKE and respect strong black women

  • Bree

    I hate having this discussion. We are either strong black women, loud black women, weak black women, etc. etc. Hell, we are the blueprint and that is all that matters. Every human being has their own strengths and weaknesses. But there has to be something pretty amazing about BLACK WOMEN period because we are always the topic of discussion! I love everything about being a beautiful brown skinned girl and I can care less about what the world thinks!!

  • Vegas1989

    My husband praise me. He said that he never met a woman like me...I'm strong and can carry my own. Once I got married I let him lead and do things like come give me a boost to my car. Now I'm a mechanic in the Service and I know how what to do. But I called him to give me a boost. It was too cute. Knowing good and well I could have got a boost at the VA Hospital or called Triple A. I had cables in my car but I called him.....I don't have to be strong all the time....

  • Rita

    I love having this discussion, it just shows How Strong We Really Are...and Glad she said this! I'm a Black Queen that won't back down. F-ck What They Think. Foreal.

  • Rita

    I things I go through on The Regular? I'mma Strong Black Woman, but my hubby have All the Strength.

  • Scromes1212

    How much was the ticket?

  • bb1812

    I like Michelle. Much respect. I'm glad she & Barack are winning. They are The Power Couple bar.?

  • Rita

    Lee, who drop the mic? Michelle?

  • Renee26

    Yes, letting a man lead or take on the "heavy" things and or things that men typically do (lifting, fixing, car upkeep, taking out trash, disciplining the kids, etc) has nothing to do with not being strong and independent (cause Apple threw that on in there). You can be both independent and let your mate take the lead.

    A woman needs to be able to handle business when there isn't a man around. She can work on bettering herself while she's single and if it scares people because she's smart and capable then that's their problem. A good man will see those qualities as a good thing. A woman with a foundation that they can build on and grow with.

  • Rita

    Enough Said, I'm Out!

  • pynkrose407
  • Elevated Soul

    Moochelle is always making shyt about race and that is what keep Black people in segregation. Everything is about phugging race for these nyggahs!

    This bish who sits up on her azz off the dime of taxpayers, is always whining about race. She is such a :victim" and that is what she and other race pimps, want Black people to dwell in so that they can cash in off your victim-hood.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lo6u-UIbo Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    people are angered when they've done their level best to break you, but you remain a steadfast force to be reckoned with, regardless of their concerted efforts to destroy you. that's what she's talking about... being "strong" enough to withstand the blatant hatred, resentment, sabotage, and marginalization 'others' are constantly trying to subject us to because of their own compounded struggles with inadequacy, insecurity, and entitlement. those of Us who' live' this aren't confused by what Michelle is saying (and she told no lies)!

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lo6u-UIbo Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    don't EVER back down - show them that you embody "stand your ground" Sis!

  • Rita

    I sure do Nancy. Thanks! You do the same..

  • Simone

    "There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs".
    - Booker T. Washington

  • Shira Harding-James

    She tells no lies

  • dontgetblocked

    She actually was not and is not a strong black woman. What did she or her husband do for the black race? She ain't no Harriet Tubman.

  • wigmon68

    "As I got more popular, that's when people of all sides - Democrats and
    Republicans - tried to take me out by the knees and the best way to do
    it was to focus on the one thing people were afraid of: the strength of a
    black woman."

    Momma always said if you have to tell someone how "great" you are, it means you are insecure about who you are.

  • Bree

    I'm weak!!!

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    Those words right there is what contributed to this out of control culture we have

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    Women thinking they strong is leading to all the domestic violence

  • Dun Dilly

    That myth right there is getting tired.

  • http://thedevereauxshow.com Ms.Devereaux

    You be on here bullshitin sometimes but when it’s time to come through you come through with the ??Check and correct in a minute

  • http://thedevereauxshow.com Ms.Devereaux

    ?? why you make me laugh this is a serious topic

  • Rhyme and Reason

    You just wrote a book defining MANY, MANY Black Women and why we’re always a talking point with a small paragraph!

    Thank You!

  • Rhyme and Reason

    I totally agree! I rather say, I’m a wiser or funny woman than a strong woman!

    When I see young women (or at any age) so hard, bitter, or let down (the hand some are dealt), I feel they need softness, light-heartedness, and wisdom/discipline!

    Being strong is strength, which is inherent to self-preservation. I don’t feel Black Women need to be categorized as “a strong black woman!”

  • Rhyme and Reason

    I have to agree with some of the powerful insight right here on this site!

    Some people do make a living off of what they see as problems for black people, especially black women!

    Let’s focus more on what IS WORKING, strategies, progress reports, and our own uplifting and celebration!

    We care far too much about white or mainstream acceptance!

  • What???

    The stereotype is bw are arrogant, masculine and aggressive and celebrate it in front of the world like jackasses.

  • Not Today

    Strong....Strong is raising children, holding down a job, coming home from work, cooking dinner, washing clothes, keeping our home clean, scheduling all appointments that need to be made, weed eating these 7 1/2 acreas of land while my husband mows ( after he's off of work) picking fresh foods out of the garden I planted. Donating 8 hours a week to the domestic violence center, and passing out socks and shoes to children who need them. Football practice for the youngest and paying for college for the twins....all in a day's work. Meanwhile in between reading BS like this where someone is confused about what a strong woman is? I know what I am, And I don't use words to compensate for what I'm lacking. I my friend am a strong black woman. Good day

  • Not Today

    Then they will be saying you're a raggedy hoe with all them baby daddy's and a gold digger, lazy , etc. Some people are scared to be "Strong", others are too lazy because it takes too much to be Strong.

  • Not Today

    Being meek and passive didn't get me where I am. I have a husband, and this is his kingdom. I know my place, as he knows his. There are many women that could not ever walk in my shoes because they are not strong enough mentally. I'm strong for myself, my kids, my husband, not for anyone else, that for them to do themselves.

  • more

    Not true! Women around the world are seen as weak . We are not respected.

  • Anyway

    I have to agree. Every "strong" black woman I know is alone.

  • T Willis

    Naw, Michelle is spot on here.... they used the “strong black woman” archetype to scare off voters during Obama’s elections and presidencies

  • T Willis

    Michelle is IV league college educated, confident, and articulate - that’s more than enough strength for most - especially yt racists and black crabs.

  • T Willis

    Lol yep

  • T Willis

    So you don’t remember the caricatures that we’re drawn on magazine covers depicting Michelle as an angry ape, or how the media would only select photos showing Michelle in “certain mood”, to depict a negative black woman stereotype? Michelle isn’t mooching off of anyone - she’s not creating racist observations out of nowhere - shes providing a blueprint for other black woman who have experienced those some racist micro aggressions, and she’s explaining that their inadequacy is not her own and it will not break her. Only the weak, pathetic, disgruntled, and racist think Michelle is anything other than a brilliant, intelligent, compassionate, successful black woman ??

  • T Willis

    Yeah men have been intimidated by the mantra “strong black woman” since the 80s ?. I think y’all have flashbacks to the mass black woman exodus that occurred in the 80s, and equate the term with that period lol. Black women don’t have a choice - they have to be strong. There are too many impediments that we have to circumvent in order to gain success or gain respect. Strength is all most of us know, because failure, or giving into the negative depictions of who they want us to be, just isn’t an option.

  • T Willis

    The strongest black women I know are married and running their own business.

  • T Willis

    The mantra was created as a defensive mechanism in a different time... a time when black men had greater control over black women... their livelihood, their ambition, their money, and their freedom. Declaring themselves strong was their way, at that time, of taking back their freedom and their ambitions. When black men saw black women replacing them at the job, in college, and as the sole head of house, they took something that was meant to empower black women, and use it as a tool for negativity and feminism.

  • T Willis

    Outside of western societies, yep, we are... but the momentum that Michelle is creating in the U.S. is inspiring millions of people all over the world. Saudi Arabia, sometime within the last year or two, lifted the non-driving ban on women. More Muslim cultures are educating their women and allowing them to take office. Some Muslim cultures have had women powerful positions before the western cultures. Michelle is a beacon of light and hope, not just for black Americans, but for women of color all over the globe lol

  • T Willis

    It meant something 30-40 years ago... and it was meant to be a beautiful celebratory moment until black men saw what was happening and how it had affected their place in both society and the household... then they put a negative spin on it... as something masculine, abrasive, and negative. Now, black women are afraid to call themselves strong or see themselves as capable women for fear that they will drive off a potential husband. It’s crazy what propaganda can do to you and your culture. It can make you feel shameful of self-perseveration.

  • T Willis

    I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think “strong” is the right word. Someone once told me that there are two types of people: those who are raised on love, and those who are raised on survival. I think black women (for the most part) are the latter, and they view life very differently. When you’re raised on survival you instinctively become more aggressive and more assertive because your daily life revolves around protecting yourself from men and women that are mentally ill and violent. So, yes, those women tend to be less feminine and more aggressive because they raised on survival, not love. But I think every woman is capable of being feminine and loving, they just have to be raised in that environment by a loving entity. That’s why I always stress that our community can only improve if we correct the actions and behaviors of black women. We have to correct the actions of the past parenting failures (80% illegitimacy) & teach black women how to be more strong in a more understated way that empowers, and not intimidates, black men. All men derive their power from their women, which is why we need to work on ours.

  • Kenneth Bates

    Exactly.

  • Rhyme and Reason

    I fully understand the origin, but let’s turn the page! White women now use it, it’s trendy for them to say it; any woman that survives and thrives is a strong woman!

    Look at how many developed countries have had women leaders as presidents or prime ministers in modern times, not to mention going back to ancient rulers!

    White women have their plights, just like any group of women from here to the middle-east, Asia, Europe or Africa!

    American Black women are the MOST disparaged, imitated, and talked about!

    And, also quite...Fabulous!

  • Cocoa Rose

    Well when you male counterparts have the highest unemployment rates, incarceration rates, etc...you are forced to step up...

  • T Willis

    Whoa full ??. Point me to the source of all of these women leaders in developed countries. Women prime ministers, yes, a few... but many... women leaders in developed countries? Naw, that doesn’t seem historically accurate at all.

    Women of color, globally, are strong women for thriving under patriarchal rulership, and forced archaic religious traditions. That’s why they’re strong. I could give zero f*cks about yt women. They’re in competition with yt men to replace them.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lo6u-UIbo Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    ??

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    When did she say she was great?
    She said she was popular which is true.
    Maybe you need to take a reading comprehension class.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lo6u-UIbo Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    ?? ?? ?? ??

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    I think it's a love hate relationship.
    White men have the most trouble with black women because they are raised to believe women are supposed to be docile and basically subservient to men and when they have to deal with black women it's a big problem.

  • Elevated Soul

    LMAO @ "skrong" but you are absolutely correct.

  • Sha

    Say that again for the people in the back. We are amazing just the way we are DARK & LOVELY.

  • TransMichelle
  • OUBoyWonder

    People call Jesse Lee Peterson a coon/ Uncle Tom but he preaches THIS everyday all day and black folks HATE him for it. If you don't believe the Democratic party was built and sustains this exact train of thought, do some research.

  • Kimberly Jones

    ?

  • TransMichelle

    She's thirsty for sure. Go sit down Michelle like the other former 1st ladies do. Go make yourself useful instead of hobnobbing around the world with the rich and famous and begging for props. I mean really...!

  • TransMichelle

    She need to go sit down somewhere like all the other former 1st ladies and make herself useful instead of hobnobbing around the globe with the rich and famous desparate for attention. The Odumbas really cheapened the presidency. No refinement whatsoever.

  • Mama Dee’s Wig Maker

    Whoo chile some of these comments

  • Evillene

    Kamala didn't sit there all feminine and soft. She gave the crazy man her mic and left the stage. That's what any reasonable woman should do when confronted by a crazy man -- quickly exit. Being a strong woman does not mean physically strong. Don't fight unless you have to protect yourself or your loved ones. If you can run, you SHOULD run.

    Like Michelle O, being a strong woman means being smart, resilient and unbowed. The moderator was brave to try to protect the Senator in those seconds until security took over. I would have yelled "RUN, KAMALA !!!!!" over my shoulder while running in the other direction.

  • Queen B

    Its true tho....especially for the weak ppl

  • Queen B

    Wtf was she suppose to do for the black ppl exactly?

  • Queen B

    Lol i do stuff like that ? like have him changing light bulbs

  • Queen B

    Some ppl making comments got her message and her testimony high misconstrued.....that's the damn problem now

  • Anyway

    I bet they're "strong" where they need to be and aren't trying to be the man in the relationship.

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    So all the other races that have Real famliy and culture are weak?

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    This strong black woman stuff is just used to drive a wedge between the black man and woman because best believe the only person a black woman will come off strong to will be her mate. At her job she very submissive to that white man for that check

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    An brand new screen name.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    Jesse Lee Peterson is a self-hating coon.
    He regularly invites white supremacists on his show.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    Acknowledging reality isn't the same as asking for acceptance.

  • Renee26

    Key words you used "seen as". That's a negative stereotype... Facts speak for themselves.

    Yes, some women in other countries are still fighting oppression but progress is still being made.

  • Intellectual by Nature!

    This is the most hilarious comment I've ever read. Why do you assume a boss is automatically a white man? If your boss is a white man, do you NOT submit to him? Why does a woman's strength have to reduce the strength of her mate? We are called to have dominion TOGETHER. Iron sharpens iron.

  • Renee26

    Let the ignorant say what they want. Facts speak for themselves

  • Myopinion

    You are so wise Evilene, Thank you for explaining this to our people and the others.
    https://media1.giphy.com/media/mPIA4KZVXv0ty/giphy.gif

  • Alicia.Ashe

    White trolls came out for this post ?

  • Alicia.Ashe

    You’re an idiot

  • Coco_Butter

    All of this

  • Coco_Butter

    This is so true I’ve read comments on another mainly white website that constantly describe Kamala Harris as always angry. That irritates the hell outta me

  • Let them eat cake

    i've had people both black and other races actually get annoyed with me because i am not what the world stereotype makes for black women. i have anxiety, and just how i was raised i am fiesty but i cry too and appear vulnerable and i am not super aggressive. ppl actually get mad and tell me i need to be "strong" and all this BS and then have the nerve to say "if this were another black woman, these wte folks wouldn't dare try that mess with them." Well, i'm a woman and i'm allowed to be vulnerable and feminine, yet strong while remaining feminine. stop trying to masculinize black women. its so sad to me that people actually get pissed off when they see a feminine, vulnerable black woman that knows how use her femininity to get ahead. smh.

  • Let them eat cake

    thank you. they probably know how to be strong without being agressive and remain feminine.

  • Trace da Ace

    well...she told no lies....and IDGAF about who feels different....we ALL are entitled to opinion......soooo......see yall upstairs.

  • Bree

    Amen.

  • PrettyMeka08

    Are people using strong & aggressive interchangeably?
    I would say historically black women (&men) are resilient & resourceful. Women don’t have to square off like man.

  • more

    Its a fact! I dare you to go to those Muslim countries and say everything that's on your mind

  • more

    I absolutely agree. I want us all to rise and fight and stop listening to men and their oppression on us

  • PrettyMeka08

    ??????????Yes. Many people try to make black women masculine instead of letting us be ladies. Strength & Courage should be measured differently when speaking of men & women. Men & women are strong in different ways.

  • Renee26

    Ion fucc with oppressive cultures unless I have to... Not one Muslim country is on my bucket list to visit

  • facingrealit1

    You are absolutely correct. Booker T. Washington spoke on these "type" of colored people...Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, almost ALL Black pastors., etc. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af7d647b524c52c3cbd306175f25ab6fc6675a27f6204d1e8e11f2471a410ea4.jpg

  • facingrealit1

    You are so right! They love being needed.

  • Robert lee Bennett OG

    Vast majority of folks who own jobs are white... but how about this all these black women so strong but got a 72% having baby out of wedlock and the all these kids being raised by these strong black women are ending up in prison or a stripper pole

  • Rhyme and Reason

    I agree! You have to identify or acknowledge a problem, before you can solve it, after a diagnosis comes a treatment plan!

  • Rhyme and Reason

    Well, it’s a lot given the world’s historical patriarchal rule, for centuries, and the U.S. has yet to have one with all of our advancement, high standard of living, and Fortune 500 companies!

    Here’s a list from CNN...

    All the countries that had a woman leader before the U.S.
    By Amanda Wills, Jacque Smith and Casey Hicks, CNN
    Updated January 28, 2019

    Developing Countries List 2019...

    World population review dot.com / countries/ developing-countries

  • Anyway

    That's exactly what it is. These women know how to balance both. I have yet to see an overly aggressive, dominant woman, married to a man with a backbone. Women who are like this, usually end up "carrying" the man.

  • sweetae99

    Blah...blah...blah?

  • LuvR

    I'm glad she used the word "People" which is all-inclusive of race and gender. We know other races are intimidated by the strength (which includes her intelligence and confidence) of a Black woman but truth be told so are other Blacks and when a Black man or another Black Woman is intimidated by a Black woman they treat us worse than Whites. Hell, they will do a Whites dirty work for them just to beat us down. It's a crying shame.

  • wigmon68

    So by your comprehension, "strong" means popular?

    Maybe you thought she literally meant "physically" strong? I have no doubt she's physically stronger than BO and he probably is afraid of her, but I didn't take that quote that literally.

    No, I think I've got a pretty good handle on what she meant and that people (democrats and republicans) weren't afraid of her because she was popular. For the most part, I think she was pretty much left alone other than when she said she was never proud of her country. I mean she did some good work on education, but the "healthy" school lunch thing was a disaster.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    No stupid. She wasn't bragging about being popular.

    She mentioned it in the context of how people are threatened by an influential black female.
    You hate Democrats or whatever and you have a reading comprehension problem.

    Go back to third grade and learn how to read for understanding.

  • Maxx

    What are you talking about? Being a strong black woman doesn't mean you are a Black Panther or Civil Rights Activist. It means you conduct yourself in confidence, intelligence, and the ability to get things done, and overcome disappointments & obstacles. It means you lead with LOVE. That's strength.

  • wigmon68

    Wait, so you said 2 posts ago she was talking about her popularity, but now this post she wasn't bragging about being popular. And now "strong" means "influential". I admit, I am not following, but you are probably just too smart for me.

    I just get tired of people citing race as the reason someone may criticize them. She wasn't criticized any more than Hillary, thats for sure.

  • Let them eat cake

    so true.

  • TheFlow

    But everyone woman does that. Thats what you're SUPPOSED to do as a mother so why do yall want extra credit for that?

  • TheFlow

    lol, right