First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama graced the stage of BET’s Black Girls Rock on Sunday night to champion the accomplishments of three teen girls. For some, her words were problematic, but for others—like the other little black girls in the audience—her words were inspirational and magical.
Here is an except of Mrs. Obama’s speech, from Black Girls Rock:
When I was a girl, I had parents that loved and believed in me, but those doubts still worked their way into my head, and I was always worried about something. Does my hair look right? Am I too tall? Do I raise my hand too much in class? So when folks said a girl like me shouldn’t aspire to go to the very best colleges in the country I thought ‘Maybe they’re right.’
But eventually I learned that each of those doubts were like a little test … that I could either shrink away from or rise up to meet and I decided to rise.
Yes, I decided to rewrite those tired old scripts that define too many of us. I decided that I wasn’t bossy, I was confident and strong. I wasn’t loud, I was a young woman with something important to say and when I looked in the mirror I see a tall, beautiful and smart black girl … and that’s what I want for you, I want you to live life on your own terms. But anyone who’s achieved anything in life knows that challenges and failures are necessary components of success. They know that when things get hard, that’s not always a sign that you’re doing some thing wrong, that’s often a sign that you’re doing something right. Those hard times are what shape you into the person you’re meant to be.
FLOTUS, Michelle Obama’s must read biography that hits shelves on today (Tuesday, April 7).