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How Reading & Writing Are Helping Keep Former Juvenile Offenders Out Of Jail

Posted On: March 01, 2015

Reading and writing is not just a necessity for education, but also needed as a tool for survival. For example: if somebody does not know how to read and write, a bottle with a warning label on it stating that its poisonous, could be detrimental to them. So, reading and writing is a way of life. Reading and writing has long served a purpose of helping, inspiring and motivating others through literature.

A non-profit organization called the Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop took it to another level, when they founded the workshop to help inmates in jail and prison.

The workshop started when one of the founders who was a journalist at the time, started exchanging letters from a man on death row. The letters Kelli Taylor wrote to the inmate helped him deal with being on death row and gave him a whole new perspective about his sentence. Seeing the effectiveness of the letters, Taylor was inspired and wanted to help other inmates who were serving time behind bars, and recruited Tara Libert and started the the non-profit workshop.

The two of them came up with a mission statement of making an impact, to help inmates and juvenile offenders change their lives around and to redeem their souls through poetry, the art of literature and; writing from their hearts.

The members of the workshop meet every week to discuss and speak on various topics about books that they've read, contemporary literature, current events through publishing and memoirs from inmates who became writers; such as Nathan McCall, who is the author for the book, Makes Me Wanna Holler.

The website for the Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop shares blog posts of success stories from inmates who were and currently involved with their programs. When the inmates graduate, the workshop awards them with an alumni certificate upon their release from jail or prison, From there, the workshop continues to assist the inmates with job placement and also, registration for college, online courses and other career building classes.

In an article published by The Washington Post, they interviewed three former inmates who utilize the services which Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop provides. The inmates are juveniles who met while they were all behind bars, they are as follow: Robert Barksdale, Phil Mosby, and Juan Peterson. All three of them are friends who support and motivate one another, to not participate in any crimes, drugs ;and to remain focus, by being positive in order to change their lives.

Barksdale, Mosby and Peterson have written poetry and short stories about their experiences in jail. And also, have written artistic poetry, imaginative literature and more.

Juan Peterson who is aiming to become a lawyer wrote the poem below, about finding his light and being renewed.

Check out the poem below.

No more heartaching sins

from the dark place within

thinking of back then it’s too complicated to comprehend

I’m awestruck from the view

It’s like I’m seeing two

My mind is displaying a brighter hue

It feels good to be brand new

During their interview, Robert Barksdale expressed to The Washinton Post how the Free Minds Book Club & Workshop helped him find his passion for writing.

"Writing opened up a passion in me," Barksdale said "That’s what you need to get through. Phil and Juan know; they were on the block with me -- I began to read books, I wrote poetry, got my vocational certificate."

Phil Mosby stated how the workshop helped him attain his freedom and not just freedom from jail, but himself. 

"I want to understand freedom … I want to be able to have a job that can make a decent living," Mosby told The Washington Post. 

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop continues to extend their services to inmates in Washington D.C. and plan to expand their organization from state to state.

 

 

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Motivation 101: Kendrick Lamar - 'Hard Work'

Posted On: December 28, 2015

In a new video titled, 'Hard Work' to promote and raise awareness about mentorship, Kendrick Lamar displays role modeling and; even fatherhood to an impressionable young boy.

The footage opens up with K-Dot at a basketball court teaching the plays and discipline on the blacktop to the young boy, as far as the game of not just sports but the application of ambition, determination and; hard work to win in life. The visuals demonstrated the fruits of labor in Kendrick's success of recognition, the appreciation of creativity and his music from fans. Also, being bless with kindness and love following him everywhere he goes as a reciprocation of Kendrick sharing his gifts and talents with the world. The young boy in the video is absorbing all of it like a sponge, in order to stay afloat and anchored in life.

Congratulation to Kendrick Lamar on his hard work and the success of his album, "To Pimp A Butterfly."

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Meet Esther Okade, 10 Year Old Math Genius Enrolled In College and Wants To Open Her Own Bank

Posted On: March 15, 2015

Yes, indeeed a 10 year old currently in college and wants to open her own bank. You go lil mama!!!

Who is she you might ask, well let us introduce: Esther Okade

Esther Okade is a Nigerian-Brittish math genius, who is making headlines all across the nation and the world. She is enrolled at the Open University in Walsall, UK. and studying math as in: theories, complex numbers, bookeeping, number systems and etc. Esther is at the top of her class at the university. She wants to get her Phd. in financial math and wants to apply that degree towards owning and starting a line of her banks. She wants to open her own banks in her country and other place across the world.

Okade sets very high goals for herself and at just 10 years old, this little girl pushes herself to go above and beyond. She's tough on herself too, when it comes to potentials, bringing them forth and exceeding in them. Esther's love for math started when she was just four years old and since then, Esther has improved and became a success in math.

Esther is also applying her love for math to write a series of children's workbooks, which will enhance their skills and knowledge of math. The workbooks are called Yummy Yummy Algebra and will come in beginners to advance levels. In a recent interview with CNN International, the little genuis expressed how she wants to help other children like herself in math and wants them to know they are special too, when it comes to learning and their abilities. She stated how many different volumes of books she will write and put out on the market for children.

"It starts at a beginner level -- that's volume one. But then there will be volume two, and volume three, and then volume four. But I've only written the first one. ---- As long as you can add or subtract, you'll be able to do it. I want to show other children they are special."

Her parents are involved in doing philanthropic work and will be going back to Nigeria to complete a project of a school they are currently building. Esther is helping her parents out, the books she is writing will be supplied for the school. Esther's mother is very keen when it comes to education and the style of learning, which she states that every child learns differently. There's no one style of teaching or learning because children absorb and process information differently. And we agree. The main purpose of the school, Okade's mom, Efe expressed in the interview, is to give children the space they need to exhibit their own learning styles. She went on to state that teaching children should be based on their learning styles. And again, we agree!

"Some children learn very well with kinesthetics where they learn with their hands -- when they draw they remember things. Some children have extremely creative imaginations. Instead of trying to make children learn one way, you teach them based on their learning style."

Efe brings a very good point and it's an issue the schools in America really need to look into. But that's another article.
The school will be called Shakespeare's Academy and scholarships will be offered to local children in Nigeria, so they could attend. Esther and her mother hopes the school will also be beneficial in helping children discover their dreams and set goals at an early age. The school will house 2,000 to 2,500 students and will open in September.

Salute to Esther and Godspeed!

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First Lady, Michelle Obama Visits and Surprised School in Washington, D.C.

Posted On: March 06, 2016

As part of her initiative of getting people to adapt towards a more healthy and nutritous eating regime, and energectic lifestyle with her "Let's Move" campaign, First Lady, Michelle Obama visited and surprised two schools in Washington, D.C. 

In casual wear and with a bright smile, Michelle strolled into Watkins Elementary school and surprised their cooking class. The students learn how to make recipe and cook with the vegetables they grew in the school garden. During her interaction with the class, one of the students asked Michelle if she knew Joe Biden and while preparing tortillas, Mrs. Obama made a statement how she never cooked them that way before, and one of the children remarked he never seen her before. It's funny and comical. Michelle made the day and lesson extra special for those children who will remember the experience and for some, it will inspire them towards a goal and dream. 

During her second visit to Burroughs Elementary School, upon arrival to their classroom, one of the kids could not contain his excitement and joy of seeing Michelle Obama and he ran into her arms and gave her a hug. Which was really sweet and she had a motherly reaction to him. Watching those faces and seeing the reaction of those little Black girls, the twinkle in their eyes, it's like a beam of light for them and beacon of hope as in: "you can become the First Lady one day too." Little Black girls need to see more of that, more positive and nurturing role models and not negative images society have been portraying about Black women. You don't have to fight with one another, fight over men, lack in self respect and mannerism, low self-esteem, uneducated, lack in ambition, golddiggers, sisterwives nonsense (Michelle Obama is not sharing Barack Obama (he's not a pimp but a president) nor does he put her in a position to do so) and etc. like some of these reality show project about Black women. That's another topic and article to be covered. 

But anyhow, lets focus on this article. 

While at Burroughs elementary school, First Lady, Michelle Obama took part in the lesson of the class with its students and picked out earthworms with them.

"You guys have this amazing garden, and I’m so proud of you. And I want the world to see all the great things you are doing and all the great things you are learning so much from your garden and from your school," Mrs. Obama expressed.

Michelle was attentive to the children who were teaching her about composte, gardening and etc. 

 

It didn't stop there, Michelle surprised Eriks Brolis and Linda Bilsens at their home & family garden during an interview. Mrs. Obama complimented both of them for their roles as leaders, their efforts in motivating and teaching their community to garden and eat more fruits and vegetables. 


Michelle Obama will continue to visit and surprised schools and home gardens throughtout the spring season as part of her Let's Move campaign: Garden Tour Intitiative.  

 

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Davion Only's Quest To Find A Family Ends When His Caseworker Adopts Him

Posted On: April 22, 2015

About three years ago, a little boy set out on a quest to find a family, although he knew the journey would not be easy, his faith was stronger than any obstacles.

Davion Only at 16 years old, took to the front of his church in St. Petersburg, Florida and expressed his testimony of having no family.

"My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born. I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”

With a passion rooted in his dream, Davion was able to touch the hearts of people beyond his church. The local news station in his community picked up on the story and it was also televised on ABC during a special news program called, America Strong.

Davion Only never met his mother and only knew he was born while she was in jail. He attempted to find her, only to learn during his search that his mother passed away. Davion never gave up on hope and continued to search for a family.

From there, Davion Only was adopted briefly by a family in Ohio and was placed in four different homes. Davion finally received the mercy of his prayers when a caseworker, Connie Bell Going which he knew since he was seven years old, put in the paperwork and finalized on adopting him.

"When he asked me, my heart felt this ache and I just knew he was my son,” Connie stated to news reporters.

What an amazing story, God bless Davion and Connie for her heart of gold!

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You Go Girl: Munira Khalif Accepted To 8 Ivy League School

Posted On: April 22, 2015

No matter what stigmas society or the media has placed on the younger generation, there is faith that they will be the change we seek for.

Munira Khalif is another high school student who got accepted to eight Ivy League school. She is an activist in the making and wants to go into politics one day.

According to her high school Mounds Park Academy, Munira Khalif has been an avid voice in campaigning for equality education for girls across the nation and in East Africa. This has led her to develop and create an non-profit organization called Lighting the Way, which raises funds to assist and award scholarships to young girls like herself, with the ability to go to a private school or a collge of their choice. At just 17 years old, Munira is also the founder of a non-profit organization called Social Consciousness Club to help aid and alleviate domestic and social issues in America and in other countries.

Munira Khalif goes by a daily mantra that is an African proverb: “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a nation."

When asked why she believed and stood by the mantra, Munira stated: “The sheer ripple effect of educating a girl is huge, especially in developing countries."

 Munira was accepted to Standford, University of Minnesota and Georgetown along with the eight Ivy League school. The school director for Mounds Park Academy, made a statement to news media that Khalif is on a journey to diversy the world through communication and education.

“She already is making a difference in communities across the globe, and I know she is ready to embrace the challenges that arise in our constantly changing world.

Munira is a spoken word poet who finds inspiration through published stories from the Civil Rights Movement. Her favorite book is “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois. She uses her poetry as a platform to bring awareness about social change, human rights, and issues affecting her parents' native land Somalia. Khalif credits poetry for playing a big role in her academic success. She hopes to inpsire young people like herself to think on a wider and broader scale, to challenge things because those are the attributes which goes into innovations and making a difference in the world.

Munira Khlaif has yet to make a decision on which school she is planning on going to and expressed how grateful she was towards God, for blessing her with the grace of fulfilling her dreams and goals. 

“This was truly a blessing from God. To me this news is reflective of the support and encouragement of my family, my school and my community.”

Congrats to the young thoroughbred and Godspeed mama!

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Power Shift: The New Black Superheroes

Posted On: January 29, 2015

The faces of superheroes are finally changing.

Once upon a time, I asked a little Black boy who was his favorite superhero. The little Black boy looked at me, with so much in his eyes and replied, "Spiderman." I smiled, and said, "let me find out you have super powers like Spiderman?" and laughed. But to my surprise, the little boy wasn't laughing and his eyes became sad. When I asked him if he was okay. He told me yes, but how he could not be Spiderman because Spiderman was White. So, I told him he could be anything he wants to be in this world and how his color would never stop him from becoming. And he just shook his head and said to me, "then how come Superman, Spiderman, Wolverine are not Black and there are no Black superheroes." He insisted that he wanted to be a superhero. And what could I tell this child with his vivid imagination and questions some of us should ponder on.

But all that is changing. And I'm sure if I was to have another conversation with this little boy again, he would tell me about James Bond, The Green Lantern and etc.

Finally, there are images in movies, comic books, magazines, books and etc. that depict Black men for who they truly are. Images that exude: power, royalty, kingship, honor, strength, leadership, dominance; images that can empower a little Black boy to be and become.

Little Black boys need to see that Black men are not criminals, dead beat dads, are not hunted, harrassed and killed by police, are not public enemy number one nor are they the faces of persecution for the world. The type of images the media has been portraying for centuries about Black men. Nah, not when they have royal blood flowing through their veins and greatness within them. Little Black boys need to see that Black men are superheroes too, that they are strong, mighty and powerful. Because as men, a kings that is what Black men are.

And I believe this is just the beginning because the pendulum always swings back. The power shift era has begun.

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LeBron James Treats 5,000 Children With an Educational Theme Park Trip

Posted On: August 21, 2016

As part of his "I Promise" pledge and education initiative, LeBron James treated 5,000 children and their family to his second annual Cedar Point amusement park trip in Sandusky, Ohio. Being the role model that he is, King James brought his children with him for the trip, modeling and instilling in them the importance of being a philanthropist; and doing humanitarian work.

Philanthropy is something LeBron James has made a dedication to. He's been very active with the LeBron James Family Foundation, tailored to provide mentorship, services and resources to children, and their families across the nation. They range from: full scholarships for high school students, education in helping children develop interpersonal skills and leadership by participating in different programs and projects in their communities, such as cleaning up their neighborhoods, excelling themselves in schools and extra-curricular activities in sports and music; after school programs to enrich their paths towards success so they don't stray or fall prey to drugs, violence and etc.

Back in 2015, King James made a pledge towards his I Promise education initiative, in association with the University of Akron to provide full scholarships to over 1,000 students upon completion of its required program. In the same year, King James collaborated with Michelle Obama to sponsor and advocate social activism in education, and nurture a new program at the time, called Better Make Room, directed to help children nationwide achieve their educational goals and dreams.

LeBron James is the golden child when it comes to being role model, because it exceeds sportsmanship and being a team player with him. He goes above and beyond to utilize who he is as a prominent athlete, to make a difference and innovate change for the better.

Shop at NBAStore.com

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'Queens of Africa' Dolls Which Outsold Barbie & Manufactured In Nigeria Are Coming To America

Posted On: May 24, 2016

Back in 2015, Taofick Okoya made headlines when his 'Queens of Africa' dolls outsold Barbie in the Nigerian market and other markets in the world.

Okoya began creating, developing and manufaturing the Queens of Africa dolls when he could not find any dolls to resemble his daughter.

"I got into the doll business by chance. At that time my daughter was young, and I realized she was going through an identity crisis." Taofick expressed in an interview with Forbes.

And after discovering the psychological conditioning of buying his daughter White dolls when she confided in him, how she wished and wanted to be White.

"She wished she was white, and I was trying to figure out where that came from. I used to always buy her White dolls, and it never got to me that is was relevant which color her dolls were. On top of that, we have DSTV in Nigeria where children watch the Disney programs, and all her favorite characters were White. I started to understand why she’d feel the way she did, ‘cause it was all that she’d been exposed to," Okoya continued to elaborate.

Realizing how it would have an impact on her self esteem, self acceptance and most of all, self love and; how it can affect her confidence. Taofick Okoya went to work with a purpose to break the brainwashing chains of oppression off his daughter, including other Black girls and Black women across the world. And that once, little Black girls began seeing themselves in those dolls, it would elevate their self esteem, confidence; and nurture the acceptance and love of who they are. 

Now one year later, Taofick Okoya is making headlines again because this time, he is coming to America just like the movie! (Bring out the drums!) And he even has a tour called "Coming to America" where he will travel to different states meeting with investors, retailers and stores to start implementing the widespread of Queens of Africa dolls in the American market.

"We’re planning on taking part in American toy fairs where we can meet with retailers. Our ultimate goal is to be sold by the major stores in the US. I personally believe it will be less difficult to sell the dolls in America, compared to Nigeria," Okoya stated.

The Queens of Africa dolls are already in the American market online through Amazon and will continue to expand in their business dealings. 

Although the Queens of Africa dolls cater to children, Black women have been buying the dolls for themselves because growing up those type of dolls were not available. The dolls reflective image of those Black women reminded them that there is nothing wrong with the way God created them, there is nothing nothing wrong with their hair, skin color, there's nothing wrong with braiding their hair, different body shapes, their curves; and that they are God's masterpieces and beautiful. This was something many Black women were deprived as a child due to the mass production and marketing of mostly White dolls. And even in womanhood (because of mostly seeing White women on the covers of magazines, commercials and lead movie roles) but things are changing for the better. 

"Who taught you to hate yourself?"

Malcolm X made that quote once because it's the truth and today, the knowledge of self love continues to penetrate hearts. With entrepreneurs, game changers and leaders like Taofick Okoya making a difference to create a better world. 

Even though Nigeria is in Africa, Okoya met with resistance trying to sell his dolls in the Nigerian market because of colonial brainwashing in the country, as he stated below.

"There’s still somewhat of a colonial brainwash present in the country, and store owners would tell me “Oh no, Black dolls don’t sell, give us more White dolls” when I first presented them with the dolls. There’s somewhat of a bandwagon mentality here, where people simply follow trends without asking themselves why. They were used to dolls being White by default, so taking a chance with a Black doll was quite difficult for them at first."

Maintainting his faith and belief of his vision, Taofick pressed on forward and managed to generate over 9,000 sales per month of the Queens of Africa dolls last year (which ranged from $2.50 to $18.99) in the Nigerian market and other countries such as France and Australia. Since then, the sales of the dolls have grew and continue to climb market.

Taofick Okoya will also be traveling to other parts of the world such as: Brazil, Ghana and South Africa to branch the retailing of the Queens of Africa brand. 

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Photos Provided by: Queens of Africa

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Jahana Hayes Went From Teen Mom to Being Named, The 2016 National Teacher of the Year by The White House

Posted On: May 23, 2016

If there is one thing to learn from this incredible story it is: "your past does not determine your future, only you do!"

Let's get to it. 

Jahana Hayes made headlines earlier this month in May when she was named the 2016 National Teacher of the Year by the White House and received a 'crystal apple' award by President Barack Obama himself. 

Hayes made the top of the list amongst all other educators in the nation due to her willpower to never give up on herself and despite all odds, Jahana gracefully found balance to even it all out. Jahana Hayes is a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut and already invested eleven years into instilling education, and guiding the youths at Waterbury. Although, the road was not easy for Hayes who became a teenage mother at 16 and falling into the cracks of her environment and stereotype statisctics, Jahana found her pot of gold at the end of the road. 

"Our teacher of the year here stands as proof that we can't set expectations high enough for our kids," Obama expressed. "There's magic in those kids. We just have to find it. We have to unleash it."

Oh yes! Jahana indeed got that Black Girl Magic going on, you go girl! 2 snaps!! But lets get back to the article,

Jahana Hayes was raised in the public housing projects of Berkeley Heights, by a drug addicted mother who at one point lost her aparment and left them homeless. As tough as it was, Jahana took the lessons from her experiences and applied it towards her goals and dreams. As a teacher, Hayes elaborated seeing herself in some of her students and making that connection with them through her own life lessons to keep going. 

"I see myself in every one of those students and I carry my own experiences as a reminder that as a teacher I have to be better."

 Keeping the 360 circle of life circulating and paying it forward from the investment of the teachers that believed in her and motivated her to magnify her dreams, Hayes went to college to become a teacher herself and went above and beyond as an archetype of the embodiment of the American Dream. 

Overwhelmed with joy, excitement and a mix of emotions, Jahana Hayes accepted her honorary from the White House.

"Teaching is about special moments," she indicated during her speech. "As amazing as today is, it's just one of many incredible moments I've shared with my students over the years."

Jahana thanked President Obama and his committed efforts towards education. Obama conveyed about his enjoyment in hosting the nation's top educators event and revealed his desires of wanting his daughters (Sasha and Malia) to pursue careers in teaching. He went on to disclose working with his adminstration to raise the salaries and wages for teachers, develop traning in STEM for all teachers, making it more accessible and easier for all classrooms to have wifi; and giving teachers enough space to creatively teach and help students with their creativity. 

"We do have to do better in too many of our schools," President Obama suggested. "We need more teachers like this and all of you. We've got to make the profession more attractive. We do have to have accountability in the classroom … we've got to come up with measures that are meaningful."

Jahana Hayes asserting President Obama's application in raising the status quo for teachers, made this comment below during her own speech.

"We must lead the charge and change the dialogue surrounding conversations about this profession."

As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Hayes will be traveling all across the nation for a year in representing educators and also, an advocate for teachers worldwide. 

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 Photos Provided by: Getty Images 

 

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First Lady, Michelle Obama Graces the Cover of 'Variety' Magazine and Talks About Tapping Into Pop Culture to Raise Awarenesss

Posted On: August 29, 2016

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.

There's more and if you want to find out, subscribe to Variety and pick up their latest issue with First Lady, Michelle Obama on the cover.

Magazines.com, Inc.

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