Michelle Obama inspires women through bestselling memoir and book tour


Credit: Crown Publishing Group

As Michelle Obama entered the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, the audience erupted into loud cheers for their former First Lady. She captured the crowd with loving charm and remarks about her insightful best-selling memoir. Thousands of people travelled to Philadelphia to hear Obama’s inspiring words.

“Confident” by Demi Lovato blared across the loudspeakers, a fitting choice for the event’s guest of honor.

The guest? Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States. Obama sat down with host Phoebe Robinson at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 29th — Obama’s fifth stop on a ten city book tour for her new bestselling memoir. The memoir, entitled Becoming, sold the most copies of any other book published in 2018 — breaking the record in 15 days.

Robinson, an actress and author, introduced her self-proclaimed “new best friend” casually, but to those in the audience, this was a once in a lifetime experience.

As Obama walked onto stage, a huge roar emerged as the mass of people burst out in tears while simultaneously beaming with pride and excitement. The group of just under twenty thousand people was overwhelmingly female, and overwhelmingly black. To these people, Obama is the epitome of grace, poise, and a physical representation of female and black success. There have been forty seven black women elected to Congress since Shirley Chisholm was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968. To this day, only 7.5% of the entire U.S. Congress is made up of black women. Obama and her peers are a rare breed of powerful black female politicians.

Becoming is, in essence, the origin story of this grace and poise. The memoir details how and why Obama rose to become a cultural icon. Throughout this entire process, Obama describes herself as continuously “becoming” a more ideal version of herself as she progresses through life. She chose this simple word as the title of the book because it serves as both a description of her existence as well as a question and challenge to her readers.

At the November 29th event in the Wells Fargo Center, five local Philadelphians stood on stage before Obama and announced what they were “becoming.” There stood a Latina woman becoming a small business owner and a black army veteran becoming financially stable in order to send her kids to college, among others. The word “becoming” had an empowering effect on the crowd and encouraged them to do just as the individuals on the stage had done, and figure out who each of them was “becoming.”

The memoir itself explores Michelle Obama’s experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago and how, with the help of her mentors, she attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.  Obama credits her mother, father, and older brother Craig with helping her to accomplish her goals.

Indeed, her mother’s care and effort towards education instilled in her the importance of learning that prompted her to pursue a higher education; her father’s dedication to his work despite a crippling disability caused her to be resilient in all aspects of life from an early age; her brother Craig became her constant support system that set the tone for meaningful relationships later in life.

It is these people who helped Obama to pilot her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity as well as her numerous outreach programs at schools and hospitals in the Chicago neighborhood that she grew up in. Finally, Obama and former Second Lady Jill Biden founded Joining Forces, a movement dedicated to ease veterans’ transitions back into civilian life. Through these organizations and projects, Michelle Obama has dedicated her life to giving back. She was able to discover her voice and role in the country completing a job that does not come with a description.

Michelle Obama’s story, as portrayed through Becoming, is one of an underdog rising to the top. Despite all odds, she was able to do what most children can only fantasize about: fulfill her wildest dreams.