As the 2016 elections slowly approaches and President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama are drawing near their final days at the White House, 'Variety' magazine sat down to talk to Mrs. Obama.
The First Lady graces the cover of the magazine, spotlighted as the center point for Variety's Autumn issue. Characterized in a black and white, asymmetrical dress at the helm line, patent leather pumps and flowing hair. Michelle stands tall in her confidence, elegantly polished in sophistication and class. Her smile is dignified with purity.
Variety's cover story and interview, highlights and details Michelle Obama's venture and progress as a First Lady during her husband's terms. Her position, the role she played and its effectiveness to reach the public on issues that matter. As a First Lady, Michelle Obama continues to be very active and operative as a voice for the people. She has been involved in several initiatives to bring about innovative change for the better and improve the nation in areas they lacked and struggled in.
Since President Obama's sworn in and taking oath into office, the First Lady utilized her platform in politics to make an impact. She kicked off her first initiative "Let's Move" six years ago, to sponsor and advocate the importance of eating healthy and exercising. Since its launched, Michelle Obama managed to raise awareness and get people involved from all walks of lives, from public figures, celebrities, schools, non-profit organizations and etc; to decline the obesity rate in children and recuperate their health.
In her interview with Variety, she contributes being a comical person and employing comedy as way to reach people on a broader scale.
"What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way,” she stated.
In making people feel a sense of joy and comfortable in happiness, she manages to get them to listen.
"My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen. So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate."
Michelle Obama calls herself a "product of pop culture" and tapping into it to raise awareness and make a difference. Also, applying the entertainment industry into her strategy of reaching the masses and being effective in getting her message across. She explained to Variety, of knowing what it would take in having her message transmitted through television.
"Reaching people where they lived on a day-to-day basis, and the next step was, ‘How do you do that? Where are the people?’ Well, they’re not reading the op-ed pieces in the major newspapers. They’re not watching Sunday morning news talk shows. They’re doing what most people are doing: They are watching TV."
She disclosed the type of audience she knew she was dealing with, in trying to plug in the younger public about her initiative through the means of comedy.
"A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies."
Recently, the First Lady was part CBS's "Late Late Show" segment, 'Carpool Karaoke' and sat in the passenger side of a car with the host, James Corden. They circled the driveway of the White House's South Lawn with Michelle Obama singing her favorite songs, for example Missy Elliott's 'Get Your Freak On.' During the filming of the show, Michelle focused on one of her initiative "Let Girls Learn," a program dedicated to providing and improving the resource of education worldwide for all girls across the globe. Both the Firs Lady and James Corden sang the initiative's theme song 'This Is for My Girls,' written by Diane Warren and performed by several musicians including Janelle Monae, to convey Let Girls Learn directives.
Michelle thought what better way to get through people than music. Being a product of pop culture, she is aware of this. Since the show aired, the song's sales digitally increased in the market and generated 40 millions views on YouTube. Magnifying the purpose of her Let Girls Learn initiative and grasping its message.
At the time of the interview with Variety, the First Lady brought up issues in the entertainment industry which needs to be addressed, reformed and remolded; to fit the imagery of the diverse world we live in. She spoke about people not being able to understand one another, due to their lack of stories being told on television and movies.
"For so many people, television and movies may be the only way they understand people who aren’t like them,” Michelle expressed.
She continued with her statement, revealing her role as the First Lady of America, her image and the impact in made in role modeling, and improving the narrative for African-American girls. The projection of someone who looks like them, corroborates and endorses who they are and not what racism, stereotype, ignorance and etc., says they are.
"And when I come across many little black girls who come up to me over the course of this 7½ years with tears in their eyes, and they say: ‘Thank you for being a role model for me. I don’t see educated black women on TV, and the fact that you’re first lady validates who I am."
Michelle Obama reflected on her mother saying so many people were in awe and smitten of her and President Obama, like its something new. She communicated, there are millions of Michelle and Barack Obama's out there, the narrative of it, in education, morals, family structure and so on,;and the importance of that image and story being portrayed.
"There are millions of Michelle and Barack Obamas.’ We’re not new. We’re not special. People who come from intact families who are educated, who have values, who care for their kids, who raise their kids — if you don’t see that on TV, and you don’t live in communities with people like me, you never know who we are, and you can make and be susceptible to all sorts of assumptions and stereotypes and biases, based on nothing but what you see and hear on TV. So it becomes very important for the world to see different images of each other, so that, again, we can develop empathy and understanding."
The First Lady disclosed the inclusion of those narratives and images are censorious in the entertainment industry and it needs improvement, in fostering the diversity of the world. Its perception, how it is seen through each individual's eyes, the reflection of it and projection its reality. And introducing this reality, so people can relate to one another, understand each other and their stories; in familiarizing the narrative of differences in the world through broadcasting.
"There are folks who now know black families — like the Johnsons on ‘Black-ish’ or the folks on ‘Modern Family.’ They become part of who you are. You share their pains. You understand their fears. They make you laugh, and they change how you see the world. And that is particularly true in a country where there are still millions of people who live in communities where they can live their whole lives not having contact or exposure with people who aren’t like them, whether that is race or religion or simply lifestyle. The only way that millions of people get to know other folks and the way they live … is through the power of television and movies."
Michelle Obama noted, the importance of diverse representation in TV shows and movies, and projecting the difference of population.
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