With Michelle Obama’s passionate speech during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, July 25th, the First Lady of the United States cemented her reputation as an elegant, poised speaker. She's been a strong, evocative public figure on the international stage since President Obama took office, and this was just the latest in a series of moments this year in which she reinforced her bona fides, reassuring us that she’ll be a powerful presence once the most famous black couple in the world leave the White House. Whether singing along to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" in the passenger seat of James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke," or sharing personal anecdotes about her family's journey to Washington, D.C., Michelle Obama has captured our hearts and minds.
Michelle Obama brought down the house at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, giving what many political observers are already considering one of the greatest convention speeches — if not speeches, period — of all time. The first lady's stirring address was all the more impressive coming a week after being plagiarized by Donald Trump's wife, Melania, at the RNC. Obama took the high road — a theme of her speech, incidentally — not taking any pot-shots at Melania, nor even mentioning the name of her husband. Michelle for president 2024.
At a memorial for the officers killed in the Dallas ambush earlier this month, Michelle Obama was stuck holding the hand of America's former president and court jester in chief George W. Bush — who apparently never learned funeral etiquette 101. Bush danced inappropriately to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," leaving poor Michelle in the awkward position of trying to suppress laughter onstage at a memorial service. Unlike Bush, the country's 43rd president, she succeeded in acting like the grown up and public figure she is.
This 45-minute chat between two of the most powerful women in the world at the White House's United State of Women Summit last June covered plenty of topics: being a professional woman ("If you do not take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up"); dealing with critics ("You don’t have to say anything to the haters"); what men can do to help ("Just be better"); and, of course, her post-White House dreams ("I want to go to Target again!")
In 2015, Cuba and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations between the two countries, and easing of decades of tension resulted in President Obama becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928. The First Family mixed business with pleasure, taking in the sights and meeting with politicians in Havana. During a baseball game, the Obamas were the perfect image of an old married couple on vacation in a video captured of Barack lightly teasing Michelle in their seats as he laughs and nudges her arm.
FLOTUS is a fan of late-night programs andseemed to be having the time of her life driving around with Late Late Show host James Corden. Obama reaffirmed her Bey Hive stance while belting "Single Ladies," divulged her love for Stevie Wonder during "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and was joined by Missy Elliott for the charity song "This Is For My Girls" as well as Elliott's own "Get Ur Freak On." "This is a treat!" she said excitedly, while giving a glimpse of exactly what she'll be doing when she returns to a slightly more normal life with her husband.
Snapchat was confirmed to be more than just a minor social media phenomenon when Michelle Obama joined. She updates her stories with glimpses into her life and never shies from having a bit of fun with the filters and emojis to decorate her stories. In one Snap, she teased an upcoming guest spot on the Gilmore Girls reunion special and is unafraid of dabbling with the soft-focus flower crown filters.
The Obamas love a good party. We know that for certain after details of their intimate private Stevie Wonder and Prince dance party that took place on June 13th, 2015 at the White House. But then the Obamas showed a bit more of their ability to get down with folks, when they invited 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in February.
"I thought I would never live to get in the White House," McLaurin said. "I am so happy… A black president; a black wife; and I’m here to celebrate black history." Shen then showed off her dance moves and the couple joined in.
On June 3rd, the First Lady delivered her 23rd, and final, commencement speech. In the speech, which took place at the City College of New York, located in West Harlem in Manhattan, Obama offered a preview of some of her moving lines that were later shared in her passionate speech on the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, such as connecting her family's journey with the American Dream. "It's the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, black young women — head off to school waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America for the same reasons as many of you: To get an education and improve his prospects in life."
Obama also offered a veiled critique of Donald J. Trump, then the presumptive presidential candidate for the Republican Party, warning graduates that they should beware of those who "build up walls to keep people out," adding, "They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped."
The Obamas appeared together in a pre-recorded video for the 2016 Tony Awards to introduce Hamilton, which would go on to win 11 awards. The Obamas had been fans of the hip-hop musical based on the life of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton since its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, first performed an early version of songs at the White House. President Obama attended the show on Broadway a couple of times and the cast returned to the White House. Obama called it "a civics lesson our kids can't get enough of," adding that it was "the language of revolution" and an "urgent soundtrack."
"It's a musical about the miracle that is America, a place of citizenship where we debate ideas with passion and conviction," Michelle Obama added, while her husband asserted that America was "a place of inclusiveness where we value our boisterous diversity as a great gift."
President Obama might have made history when he gave the festival's opening speech this year, but when Michelle hosted the SXSW keynote panel last March to promote her "Let Girls Learn" educational initiative – along with special guests like Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah – she broke each of our hearts when she announced that she wouldn't be running for president herself. At least she gave us something to remember her by – a few lines from the classic Boys II Men cover "It's Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."
FLOTUS graced the NCIS franchise for a cameo on the episode "Homefront" in May as a way to promote Joining Forces, a White House program launched by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in 2011 that helps veterans and their families get the resources they need from both the public and private sectors. Though they green-screened other parts of the episode, Michelle allowed the camera crews into the Blue Room to film her minute-long scene with actors Reiko Aylesworth and Marc Harmon, and a handful of military spouse extras.