To the First Lady, With Love


Set your politics aside.

This was a stunningly beautiful tribute to Michelle Obama by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of the novel Americanah, who writes a “Thank-you Note”  To the First Lady, With Love.  Here’s a few excerpts:

She had rhythm, a flow and swerve, hands slicing air, body weight moving from foot to foot, a beautiful rhythm. In anything else but a black American body, it would have been contrived. The three-quarter sleeves of her teal dress announced its appropriateness, as did her matching brooch. But the cut of the dress scorned any “future first lady” stuffiness; it hung easy on her, as effortless as her animation. […]

She first appeared in the public consciousness, all common sense and mordant humor, at ease in her skin. She had the air of a woman who could balance a checkbook, and who knew a good deal when she saw it, and who would tell off whomever needed telling off. She was tall and sure and stylish. She was reluctant to be first lady, and did not hide her reluctance beneath platitudes. She seemed not so much unique as true. She sharpened her husband’s then-hazy form, made him solid, more than just a dream. […]

The story of her life as she told it was wholesomely American, drenched in nostalgia: a father who worked shifts and a mother who stayed home, an almost mythic account of self-reliance, of moderation, of working-class contentment. But she is also a descendant of slaves, those full human beings considered human fractions by the American state. […]

She was informal, colloquial, her sentences bookended by the word “see,” a conversational fillip that also strangely felt like a mark of authenticity. She seemed genuine. She was genuine. All over America, black women were still, their eyes watching a form of God, because she represented their image writ large in the world. […]

Her speech was vibrant, a success. But there was, in her eyes and beneath her delivery and in her few small stumbles, a glimpse of something somber. A tight, dark ball of apprehension. As though she feared eight years of holding her breath, of living her life with a stone in her gut. […]

Her daughters were grown. She had shielded them and celebrated them, and they appeared in public always picture perfect, as though their careful grooming was a kind of reproach. She had called herself mom-in-chief, and cloaked in that nonthreatening title, had done what she cared about. […]

She had become an American style icon. Her dresses and workouts. Her carriage and curves. Toned arms and long slender fingers. Even her favored kitten heels, for women who cannot fathom wearing shoes in the halfway house between flats and high heels, have earned a certain respect because of her. No public figure better embodies that mantra of full female selfhood: Wear what you like. […]

Michelle Obama was speaking. I realized then that she hadn’t been waiting to exhale these past eight years. She had been letting that breath out, in small movements, careful because she had to be, but exhaling still.

Let’s just describe this piece of writing as “Wow.”  Don’t miss the full essay @ To the First Lady, With Love.

Photo: the



  1. I will miss her.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A beautiful piece written for an authentic woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would vote for her as the next President, but I cannot because I am Canadian….

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Michelle … #FLOTUS …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent piece on a special lady.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I sigh, and smile, and cheer, and weep a little, all at once. How blessed to have her all these years. We are all better because of her, and how I will miss this, woman this beacon!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh so good. How lucky are we to have her to balance the rest of this election season…and many other seasons! Such a role model. Used to be that we would hope our kids would be president one day, right? and now we think: NO! FIRST LADY!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think she a classy and down to earth all at once. I love her and will miss her and President Obama very much! ❤
    Your northern neighbor,
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. beautifully written..!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, considering what may be following after experiencing this vibrant, honest and beautiful energy, we may miss her more than we think! 😬🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you! She rocks~

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A wonderful tribute…for an exceptionally bright, beautiful, wise, savvy woman. She walked the walk – with compassion, integrity and a sense of humor.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. an amazing leader and role model for all of us. i will miss her presence in the white house.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Read this NYTimes piece yesterday…loved this passage and the others, too. I’m a big fan. I deeply admire the grace, humor and élan she has brought to the White House for the past 8 years. As Mimi said, she is bright, beautiful and savvy. I will miss her very much….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My hope is that she has political aspirations. I don’t think we’ve seen all that she can do. She is amazing ! ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Tracey Carnahan says:

    Really admire both President and First Lady. They are caring, authentic people.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. A magnificent tribute to Full Female Selfhood 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Eight glorious years. No scandal.

    Liked by 2 people


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