13 Important Takeaways from Michelle Obama’s Farewell Interview with Oprah Winfrey

Published:20 Dec, 2016

Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey on Monday night for her final farewell interview at the White House, and it was just as emotional, empowering, and beautiful as you’d expect it to be.

Here are just a few of the biggest takeaways and standout revelations from the CBS interview, which will air again on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

1. This election was just as tough for her as it was for you. The First Lady hit the campaign trail hard in support of Hillary Clinton this year, but as she explained to Oprah, this election was just as hard for her as a citizen as it was for her as First Lady. In the interview, Obama revealed she had gone to bed before the results of the election were called, only to wake up and find out Donald Trump had won when she checked her phone in the morning.

“This past election was challenging for me as a citizen,” she said. “To watch and experience. It was painful.”

2. Fellow WOC, take it from her: Racism is a reflection on the people being racist more than it is a reflection on you. Throughout her time as First Lady, and even when her husband was first campaigning back in 2007, Obama has been subjected to countless racist remarks and unforgivable levels of disrespect. But while at first, these remarks took her aback, she ultimately realized that what these horrific trolls were saying wasn’t in any way a reflection on her, but more a reflection on them.

“You know, color, wealth — these things that don’t matter still play too much of a role in how we see one other,” she said. “And it’s sad, because the things that least define us as people is the color of our skin, it’s the size of our bank account. None of that matters.”

“It’s our values,” she continued. “It’s how we live our lives. You can’t tell that from somebody’s race, somebody’s religion. People have to act it out. They have to live those lives. So that was the blow back, and then I thought, OK, well, let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and judge for themselves. And that’s what I want young people to do. Just live your life.”

3. The Obamas are truly the greatest couple of all time. In the middle of the interview, President Barack Obama popped in as a surprise guest, gushing about his wife and once against proving what an incredible power couple they are.

“We all knew she was brilliant and cute and strong and a great mom,” Obama said of his wife. “But I think the way she blended purpose and policy with fun so that she was able to reach beyond Washington, on her health care initiative and her military family work, it was masterful.”

4. The First Lady has no intentions of running for office. Ever. Bursting bubbles and breaking hearts everywhere, Obama reiterated that she has no intentions of running for president in 2020 or beyond, both because of what a difficult job it is and because she wouldn’t want to put her family through it again.

“The next family that comes in here, every person in that family — every child, every grandchild — their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands,” she said. “And it’s not for us to complain about it, so you don’t hear complaints, but it is a truth, an actuality, that there is a weight to it.”

“People don’t really understand how hard this is,” she continued. “And it’s not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again.”

5. Her mom will be leaving D.C. to go back to Chicago as soon as they’re out of office. While both the President and First Lady were vague about where they plan to move after Sasha finishes high school, the First Lady made it very clear that at least one member of the family would be peacing out as quickly as possible: her mother.

“She’s going back to Chicago — she’s, like, ‘Bye, Felicia,'” she said. “Grandma is done.”

6. Malia and Sasha are both going through their rebellious teen phase. Yes, even members of the First Family aren’t immune to teenage hormones, and given that most teens “start to bristle against all kinds of authority” at some point, it makes sense that growing up in the White House might have its own set of problems. Luckily, the First Lady acknowledged that they’ve mostly been able to work through any “tensions.”

“Imagine being 18, 17, 16, 15, and you’ve got at least eight men with guns driving you around,” she said. “Walking into your parties. You know, not letting you ride in friends’ cars. I mean, there were those tensions, for sure, that we had to sort of work through.”

7. In her opinion, her greatest achievement has been setting an example for young women everywhere — especially young black women. During her interview, she discussed how proud she is that so many young women got to see “somebody educated, strong [and] outspoken … on a regular basis” during her time as First Lady.

8. Sometimes you have to brush off the haters if you want to move forward. In order to get through her everyday life, the First Lady often just has to put on her blockers and power through — incredible advice for even us plebeians.

9. Words matter. Throughout the interview, the First Lady continuously reiterated how much words matter — especially for kids.

“Words matter,” she said. “What we say, how we behave — we are modeling to the next generation.”

10. Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey are definitely going to go glamping soon. Now that the First Lady is about to have some free time, Oprah is trying to sell her on taking a fabulous vacation. Just imagine how epic it would be to go glamping with two of the most powerful, incredible, and influential humans in the world.

11. She and the President are ready to do whatever is necessary to help the Trumps succeed. The First Lady is ready to pass on the torch to her successor, Melania Trump, and has said “the door is open.”

“Words matter,” she said. “[T]he words that we say moving forward, all of us, it matters. Which is one of the reasons why Barack and I are so supportive of this transition. Because no matter how we felt going into it, it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander-in-chief.”

12. That being said, she still can’t wrap her head around the leaked audio tape between Trump and Billy Bush. After The Washington Post first published the clip, Obama responded with a fiery, impassioned speech pointing out precisely why it was so inappropriate and scary — and of course, she still stands by what she said 100 percent.

“You know, to have a candidate for the presidency speaking in such terms about women, as I said, was not — it was not a normal thing,” she said in the interview. “So my response, you know, in light of what I was seeing from my female staff, what I was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it, for me required a different kind of response.”

“You can’t just stand before people and just give a regular political speech,” she continued. “Something that Barack and I have always tried to be, in this office, is honest … A lot of people had been shaken to their core. And still are. They are still feeling the reverberations of that kind of caustic language.”

13. Hope is more important than ever. Given that one of the biggest parts of Barack Obama’s campaign was hope, Oprah asked if she felt the First Lady thought her husband lived up to maintaining it.

“Yes, I do — because we feel the difference now,” she said. “See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like. You know? Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept.”

“And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes,” she continued. “I mean, he and I and so many believe that if you — what else do you have if you don’t have hope?”

Credit: cosmopolitan

Related Posts

Recent Posts

BREAKING: Police raid PREMIUM TIMES head office; arrest publisher, journalist.

The Nigeria police have raided PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja, and arrested the newspaper’s publisher.   The publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, was arrested alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu.   Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.   The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.   The paper’s Editor-in-Chief,...

UPDATE: Nigerian air force ‘overflies The Gambia’ as ground troops prepare to strike.

The Nigerian air force is flying over The Gambia, an official said, as African troops prepare to force incumbent Yahya Jammeh to quit after his December election defeat. "I confirm that the armed reconnaissance air force are over Gambia," Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ayodele Famuyiwa told AFP. "They have the capacity to strike."

BREAKING: Adama Barrow sworn in as President of Gambia.

Adama Barrow, the man who won The Gambia's disputed election, has been sworn in as president. Mr Barrow took the oath at the country's embassy in Senegal. He has been recognised internationally. But Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down and his term in office has been extended by parliament. West African leaders have tried to persuade Mr Jammeh to admit losing the election. They have threatened to remove him by force. Mr Jammeh lost last month's elections, but wants...

Comic Relief: Even Google is confused about who the President of Gambia is.

As ECOWAS troops continue to march into Banjul the capital of Gambia, in a bid to oust the incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh whose tenure expires today, there has been much uncertainty about the state of the presidency of Gambia.   Presently, the President-elect, Mr Adama Barrow is being sworn-in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. This unfolding event and more gives rise to the question; "Who is the president of Gambia?" and this has turned out to be a difficult question...

Senegalese troops take over Gambian border as Jammeh’s mandate ends today.

Yahya Jammeh, the Gambia’s longtime president, was holding out in the capital, Banjul, on Thursday after last-ditch diplomatic efforts to persuade him to stand down appear to have failed. The country has been in a state of political uncertainty since Jammeh refused to cede power to the winner of last month’s presidential election, using the courts and parliament to try to extend his 22-year rule. His mandate ended at midnight but he has steadfastly refused to hand over to Adama Barrow,...

BREAKING: Nigerian Senate loses bid to stop deployment of troops to Gambia.

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki on Thursday deflected a move asking President Muhammadu Buhari to approach the National Assembly for permission before embarking on any military action in Gambia.   A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator from Enugu state, Chukwuka Utazi, had raised a constitutional order which was rejected by Saraki who presided over plenary.   Standing on order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, Senator Utazi quoted section  5 (4) of the 1999 constitution which required the consent of both Houses...

Gambia’s president is refusing to leave office — even as foreign troops near.

Twenty-three years after taking power and more than a month after a shocking election loss, Gambia's defeated president isn't ready to step down. But by Thursday morning, the pressure on Yahya Jammeh mounted as the country lurched towarda political crisis. Troops from neighboring Senegal moved to the border with Gambia, a tiny West African country on the Atlantic Ocean. Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the capital, Banjul, the latest in a series of African leaders who have...

Buhari’s Military Action In The Gambia Without Approval, Senate Says.

 The Senate on Thursday criticised the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for deploying troops to The Gambia without seeking legislative approval. The Nigerian Air Force had moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets, led by Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, to Dakar, Senegal, which is the...

Journalists Write Buhari On Southern Kaduna, Call For Stakeholders Conference.

Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), a leading Nigerian media rights group, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an intensive campaign aimed at mopping up arms in the hands of non-state actors across the country, especially in the Northern states. This is necessary to stem the tide of violence that threatens the country's stability, the media group stated. JODER also urged the President to create time to visit Southern Kaduna, saying such a step will boost the dwindling trust...

EFCC Arrests LG Councilor, Six Others For Diverting IDPs’ Rice

A supervisory councilor with Mafa local government area of Borno State, Umar Ibrahim, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in Maiduguri over alleged diversion of 300 bags of rice meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the area.   Ibrahim, who supervises the local government’s agricultural department, was arrested alongside others named Bulama Ali Zangebe and Modu Bulama in a sting operation carried out by officials of the EFCC zonal office in Maiduguri.   According to...

Why Buhari was not invited for Trump’s inauguration – Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the non-extension of invitation to President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the Donald Trump’s inauguration as a clear signal that the president does not enjoy international relevance any more. The governor said that the development was a very clear signal that Buhari’s government would not enjoy tangible support from the new US government. Fayose, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka,

Child Trafficking: Police Intercepts Another Syndicate. [Video]

The Plateau State Police Command has intercepted another syndicate specialised in trafficking children to the south east region of the country. The Police rescued 16 children at a motor park in Jos, Plateau State. The Public Relations Officer of the Command, ASP, Mathias Tyopev told Channels Television that the suspect, a female was apprehended at the Gada Biyu motor park while boarding a vehicle in company of the...

Appeal Court Reserves Judgement On Rickey Tarfa’s Appeal

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has reserved judgement in two different appeals filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, challenging his trial for alleged age falsification and obstructing officers of the law from carrying out their duties. The appellate court presided over by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba reserved the two appeals for judgement after hearing arguments from the appellant’s counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) and that of the respondent, Rotimi Oyedepo. Mr Tarfa had appealed against the rulings of...

Rann Bombing: NAF Sets Up Board to Investigate Accidental Air Strike

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has constituted a board of senior officers to investigate the accidental air strike on January 17, 2017 at Rann village, Borno State.   Among its terms of reference, the Board is to determine the immediate and remote cause as well as the circumstances that led to the incident.   A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, reads: “This is with a view to forestall future occurrence. In addition to a...

Kaduna Government Proposes 1Bn Naira To Tackle Malnutrition

The Kaduna State government has said it is proposing an annual budget of 1 Billion Naira, to tackle malnutrition, among children in the state. Governor Nasir El-Rufai disclosed this at a summit on emergency nutrition action plan held in the state capital. The governor announced that as part of efforts to address hunger and starvation in the state, his administration will set aside funds to take care of 50,000 malnourished children in collaboration with UNICEF. He however called on the citizens...

Enugu police rescues kidnapped girl sold for N350,000 in Abia

The Enugu State Police Command said that it has burst a kidnapping and human trafficking syndicate that abducted and sold a four-year-old girl in Abia for N350,000. Ebere Amaraizu, the command’s spokesman, said in a statement that the little girl’s kidnap was aided by a family member from Inyi community in Oji River Local Government Area. According to Mr. Amaraizu, the little girl went missing from school without a trace at about 12:45 p.m. on December 15, 2016 and was only...

Woman arrested for stabbing PHCN official in Akowonjo

A joint effort by security operatives attached to the Lagos State Command and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, has led to the arrest of a suspect identified as Mrs. Ediale Ayodele.   The suspect was apprehended for stabbing an official of power distribution network, Ikeja Electric in the Akowonjo axis of Lagos State.   According to a report by PM News, the suspect who resides at No. 6, Ayodola Close, Akonwonjo, allegedly stabbed the official who was on a routine...

Gambia: Adama Barrow Reaches Out To Jammeh

Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow has again appealed to outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to step aside in the supreme interest of his people and safe the Gambia from civil strive. Mr Barrow said  Mr Jammeh’s refusal to step down will result in a military confrontation and the loss of lives and destructions of public and private properties. President Jammeh’s mandate expired on Wednesday but he is refusing to relinquish power to Adama Barrow, who was declared winner of last month’s election. He had vowed...

University student bites off neighbour’s ear – Police

A 30-year-old student, Tobi Justice, who allegedly assaulted his father’s tenant by biting off his left ear, was on Thursday in Lagos released on a N50,000 bail.   The Chief Magistrate, Alexander Komolafe, who gave the ruling, also told the accused to present two sureties in like sum.   The accused, a student of the University of Abuja, had pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge bordering on assault occasioning grievous harm and breach of peace brought against him at an Ikeja Magistrates’...

Osun State Government identifies 458 unregistered schools

The Osun Government on Thursday gave two weeks ultimatum to owners of unregistered schools in the state to register them with the state Ministry of Education or stand the risk of closure.   The warning is contained in a statement signed by Festus Olajide, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Oshogbo.   The ministry said that it discovered that 458 schools in 11 local government areas of the state...

Nigerian lawmakers propose bill to jail Ministers, others who defy them.

A bill that could see officials of the executive arm of government thrown into prison if they fail to honour a summon by the legislature has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.   The bill also recommended an alternative fine of up to N1 million for any official found guilty of contempt of the National Assembly.   The sponsor of the bill, Sunday Karim, said during plenary on Thursday that lawmakers were frustrated by frequent refusal of members of the executive...