A new clip previewing Oprah Winfrey‘s hour-long CBS interview with Michelle Obama shows the pair candidly discussing the “angry black woman” stereotype. “That was one of those things that you just sort of think, ‘Dang, you don’t even know me,'” Obama said, adding that she countered negative stereotypes in her career and personal life by living “out loud.”
“We’re so afraid of each other,” she explained. “Color. Wealth. These things that don’t matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another. It’s sad because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin [or] the size of our bank account.” Obama reflected that the “angry” label is less about her actions and more about the people giving her the label.
In a separate interview for ESPN’s The Undefeated: In Depth series, tennis champion Serena Williams spoke with rapper Common about how she dealt with similar stereotypes Obama faced, but as a powerful black athlete in a sport that’s predominately white. Even though other black women had been competing on the professional level in tennis, Serena and Venus Williams were the first to become frequent champions, which brought upon negative press and comments about her body and misinterpretations about her confidence.
“I definitely was scrutinized because I was black and I was confident,” Williams explained. “Why shouldn’t I say [I’m the best]? If I don’t think I couldn’t be the best, why do I play? I could be hanging out. I could be at the beach somewhere doing something different […] I shouldn’t have to apologize for saying and believing that I could be the best.”