In case anyone needed a reminder of all the class, grace, and wisdom embodied by the nation’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, look no further than her interview with Oprah on Monday night. If anything, her demeanor throughout can serve as the benchmark of civility for us all in a post-election season that’s made it plenty hard for many people to speak about politics without raising voices or saying some not-so-nice things. FLOTUS avoids all of that in her final interview from the White House and instead strikes a respectful and reflective tone throughout. In the CBS special, which re-airs on OWN later this week, Obama spoke on a range of topics with Oprah, from “reading the tea leaves” on Election Night, to her reaction at being labeled an “angry black woman,” to the significance of “hope” as more than a campaign slogan. Here are a few of the highlights:
On being called an “angry black woman”:
Before she was even in the White House, the First Lady was labeled an “angry black woman,” which she said struck her at first but, upon reflection, she realized was merely reflective of the person saying it.
On the importance of maintaining hope:
When Oprah asked the First Lady whether she thought that President Barack Obama’s administration achieved its goal of instilling hope in the country, she answered: “Yes, I do, because we feel the difference now. See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like. You know? Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept.” She added, “And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. I mean, he and I and so many believe that if you — what else do you have if you don’t have hope?”
On opening the White House to a diversity of people:
Oprah asked FLOTUS about how she and her family rocked the image of the First Family in the White House for some people and then proceeded to open the doors to people of all walks of life. “Why was that a priority?” Oprah asked. “Because, images, experiences can be life-changing, particularly for our kids,” she replied. Too many kids never get to experience the magic of what it means to be at the White House, she added.
Though she did not mention Donald Trump by name — a practice she maintained throughout the election — she added that she and the president “will do whatever they need to help them succeed.”
Ultimately, the interview was all a little too much for many viewers.
The interview re-airs in full on Wednesday on OWN at 9 p.m. EST.