Dear Mrs. Obama:
Do you have any idea what you mean to us? By us, I mean the strong, independent, oft misunderstood, oft stereotyped, hardworking, accomplished black women of America. I suspect that on some level you do, but because you are the First Lady of the United States, I know that you don’t think along those lines, and you should not. I love that you embrace all Americans. I love your connection to the important causes so critical to the success of all women and girls. I love the way you interact with your own family and give us a window into your personal relationships. We get to see you as more than a First Lady—we get to see you as a nurturing, loving, and committed mom to your girls, and a devoted, fun-loving wife to your husband, the president.
In a world seemingly gone mad when it comes to the unflattering portrayals of foul-mouthed, angry, abusive, “gold-digging,” and unsisterly black women in pop culture, you are a much-needed breath of fresh air that gives us hope that better days lie ahead. As I share with you how special you are to us, please know that our collective excitement about you comes from a place of deep pride in what you have so flawlessly modeled to the world, over the past four years, about who we truly are as black women. Some of us, like Beyonce (when she wrote you a public letter after the birth of her own daughter), have been able to share our sisterly pride and gratitude about how your very image and presence has changed everything for generations of young black women to come. But most of our sisters have only watched admiringly from afar, as they fondly refer to you as “Michelle” (as if they know you like that) in sister organizations, churches, corporate lunch rooms, and social gatherings.
What I am about to say may seem a bit much, but it is important that you know—that everyone know—when I coined the phrase “The Age of Michelle Obama,” I did so because you have truly redefined everything for present and future generations of black women and girls in this nation. “How so?” you may ask. I’ll tell you how:
You humanize us. You soften us. You make us invisible no more. You make us approachable, feminine, sexy, warm, healthy, compassionate, smart, affirmed, accomplished, and fun-filled all at once. Your very nature most emphatically answers Sojourner Truth’s 160-year-old question, “Ain’t I a woman too?” Yes, we are women too!
Happy 50th Birthday Pretty Lady! You serve our nation well!
Sophia & the Sisters