Two words: “We’re home.” These were some of the very first words spoken during this interview between talk show host Oprah Winfrey and former First Lady Michelle Obama in Chicago’s United Center on Tuesday, November 14th, 2018. Chicago is the first stop on Mrs. Obama’s book tour, and rightly so. Both ladies are Chicago natives and both ladies have made history beyond measure. Although you’ve probably heard all about this event, I’d like to write about what this all means to me, a young, African-American woman who is still finding her way in this world. The impact that these two women have made thus far is not only admirable, but is also something to be aspired to.
As I previously mentioned, Mrs. Obama came to the city to talk about her newest book, Becoming. This will be the second book that she has authored and it will be her first memoir. What more is there to possibly know about her? We know that she’s from Chicago. She graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and then worked at Sidley Austin, where she would later meet Barack Obama. Nevertheless, there are still some details that Mrs. Obama has held very private in her life and she has decided to share some of those things in this book. During the interview, she mentioned that the book will focus more on her relationships, going to couple’s therapy with Barack, raising the children, education, and much more. Those things are lovely and all, however, there are things I found out about her that and connected with on another level.
Albeit, these may seem like minute details, but they have significance to me. We both came from the south side, attended the first magnet schools in our districts and took advanced placement classes in high school. However, what I related to most was how she felt growing up. When interviewed by People Magazine, she recalled being “tangled up in fears and doubts that were entirely of (her) own creation.” I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve never been a stranger to self-doubt. Although we both, also, grew up in households that made us feel like we were meant to do great things, it was still easy to feel self-conscious. With all that being said, she didn’t let that stop her. She mentioned that she allowed that negativity propel her, instead. She was told that she wouldn’t make it into Harvard, and she proved them wrong. Her story inspires me and watching her be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey was just the cherry on top.
Now, although Winfrey was not born and raised in Chicago, her business took off here, so I, personally, still consider her one of us! Her legacy is just as inspiring. The Oprah Winfrey Show aired for 25 seasons, which is astonishing. She started off as the youngest anchorwoman at a Nashville’s WFTV and the first African American woman to have that position. As an aspiring anchorwoman, I was more than delighted to find out this fun fact about her.
Both of these women are living proof to me that nothing is impossible to achieve. Michelle Obama overcoming her doubts and fears and achieving all that she has is awe-inspiring. Oprah didn’t come from much, yet she broke the glass ceiling. They make me proud to call myself a black woman, and I’m praying for the day to come that I get to interview them, while hopefully, motivating the next generation of young women.