Michelle Obama’s New Book, “The Light We Carry”

The former first lady’s memoir delves into the Trump presidency and Sasha Obama’s martinis.

Michelle Obama’s second memoir The Light We Carry comes out today, offering new insights into the former first lady’s life before, during, and after Barack Obama’s presidency. A follow-up to her 2018 autobiography Becoming, the new book delves into recent events such as the pandemic and the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, while also providing a window into Michelle’s family and friendships. Here are five things we learned.

Michelle started knitting during the pandemic

Like many of us during lockdown, Michelle took up a new hobby. Armed with a set of needles, she began knitting, consulting books for instruction on the craft. Also like many of us, the former First Lady eventually swapped the how-to texts for YouTube tutorials. A perennial “doer,” Michelle writes that the act of knitting allowed her to rest her mind, letting her hands do all the work. Another relatable moment: Michelle describes stocking up her Kalaroma digs with toilet paper and board games in the first weeks of the pandemic. (Yes, even former Presidents were panic shopping.) Former first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama returned home as their schools went remote, and the family would come together for movie nights and puzzle sessions.

Sasha and Malia are IKEA queens

The book offers a peek into the lives of Malia and Sasha, who entered the White House at ages ten and seven. Some of the stories give us a sense of what it’s like to grow up under the presidential spotlight: Michelle notes a time when one of her daughters posted a bikini photo on Instagram, prompting a request for removal from the East Wing communications team. In another instance, Michelle describes a high school rite of passage—with a twist. “Someone once had to be dragged by Secret Service agents from an out-of-hand, unsupervised high school party just as local law enforcement was arriving,” she writes.

Other anecdotes provide insights into their adulthood. Last summer, the sisters—now 24 and 21 years old—moved into an apartment together in Los Angeles. (At the time, Barack recommended a natural disaster response briefing, courtesy of the Secret Service; the girls declined.) Although Malia and Sasha grew up surrounded by priceless historical artifacts, the pair opted to furnish their space with finds from yard sales and the everyman’s furniture store, IKEA. In fact, according to Michelle, the girls slept on mattresses perched on box springs—no bed frames in sight. When Barack and Michelle visited, elder daughter Malia bemoaned the cost of cheese while constructing a charcuterie board for her parents, a coming-of-age-moment for many a cash-strapped Gen-Zer.

That famous DNC speech in 2016 almost didn’t happen

Michelle spends a chunk of the book unpacking the now-famous line from her Democratic National Convention speech in 2016, “When they go low, we go high.” But the address almost didn’t happen because of inclement weather. The plane hit turbulence while cruising to the convention, which almost lead to an emergency landing in Delaware—an hour before Michelle was slated to speak. Instead, they flew into the storm. Michelle recounts the terror around her as lightning surrounded a plane dropping and twisting in the air. But her mind was elsewhere: “I wasn’t thinking about dying. I just wanted to give that speech,” she writes. “I knew that if anything was ever going to toss me off course at this point, it would have to be a whole lot bigger than a layer of unstable air over Philadelphia.” The plane made a safe landing, and Michelle took the stage, uttering the line that would adorn all sorts of anti-Trump swag for years after.

Speaking of that merch, Michelle also takes a few jabs at the resistance-chic fashion marketplace. “And yet the problem with any simple motto, I suppose, is that it can be easier to remember and repeat (or to emblazon on a coffee mug or T-shirt, tote bag, baseball cap, set of No. 2 pencils, stainless-steel water bottle, pair of athleisure leggings, pendant necklace, or wall tapestry, all of which can be found for sale on the internet) than to put it into active daily practice,” she writes. Later Michelle explicitly states: “A motto stays hollow if we only repeat it on products we can sell on Etsy.”

Michelle gets honest about Trump

While Michelle abides by the “When they go low, we go high” mentality, she’s blunt about the hardships of watching Trump take office. “I couldn’t help but return to the choice our country had made to replace Barack Obama with Donald Trump,” she writes. “What were we to take from that?” She goes on to talk about how the Obamas dedicated their lives to promoting certain principles, and how painful it was to watch that be erased:

Whether or not the 2016 election was a direct rebuke of all that, it did hurt. It still hurts. It shook me profoundly to hear the man who’d replaced my husband as president openly and unapologetically using ethnic slurs, making selfishness and hate somehow acceptable, refusing to condemn white supremacists or to support people demonstrating for racial justice. It shocked me to hear him speaking about differentness as if it were a threat. It felt like something more, something much uglier, than a simple political belief.

Later in the book, Michelle explicitly calls out the birther claims that Trump pedaled throughout Barack’s presidency, describing the 45th president as “the chief instigator of that bigotry.” She also writes plainly about Trump’s role in the January 6 riots: “Watching an American president encourage a siege on his own government was perhaps the most frightening thing I’d ever witnessed.”

The Obamas love martinis

Last month when the Obamas were spotted at glam Italian restaurant L’Ardente, a tipster told Washingtonian the couple started the meal with olive martinis. The classic cocktail also makes an appearance in the book, nodding to a possible signature for Barack and Michelle. In the book, Michelle writes about clinking martinis on a rooftop in Hawaii at sunset, and she describes Sasha mixing martinis in water glasses for her parents—or, as Michelle describes them, “a couple of weak martinis.” Michelle displays her astonishment that her daughter even knows how to make martinis, but we’re mainly impressed a 21-year-old college student is drinking anything fancier than UV Blue.

Omega Psi Phi’s Achievement Week Celebration

The Eta Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. welcomed National Urban League President Marc Morial and First Corinthian ...

Partnerships are Critical to Addressing Academic and Opportunity Gaps

By Michael G. Johnson, President and CEO, Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) Fair and equitable opportunity for a solid academic ...

HBCU Student Exceeds $6K GoFundMe Goal To Continue Her Studies After Kyrie Irving Donates $22K

Kyrie Irving has made a significant donation that will help a Howard University student continue her studies. Destiny Thompson, a sophomore civil ...

Black Joy

By Fern Gillespie For 35 years, a Black couple in East Orange has been bringing Black joy to millions of ...

Jackson State University; More than its Football Team

On Saturday night, Deion Sanders announced he was leaving Jackson State University after three years to become the head football ...

Black Joy

SUGGESTED READING LIST Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Tonya EngelWhen 15-year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a segregated bus on ...

Invest Newark receives award for excellence in economic development from the International Economic Development Council

Invest Newark, the city of Newark’s Economic Development Corporation, has received the Excellence in Economic ...

Black Businesses Mean Business reSURGEnce2023

A coalition of clergy, business, and community leaders came together at Brooklyn Navy Yard for ...

Bed-Stuy Winter Wonderland

In celebration of Small Business Saturday, Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID) hosted its annual ...

The Gift That Keeps Giving for Your Child This Holiday Season

Financial education is crucial to long-term success – and that education begins at an early ...

I’VE GOT NOTHIN’ BUT LOVE FOR YOU, AND THAT’S FINE

BY R.L. WITTER Seeing gas prices drop has been a blessing. It’s not just the ...

A Safer New York

While I was on the campaign trail, I met many New Yorkers who expressed their ...

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson Gives Invocation for New York State of the State Address

Albany, NY (Tuesday, January 10, 2023) – Today, Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Senior Pastor of the largest Black church in Westchester ...
Read More

Michelle Obama’s New Book, “The Light We Carry”

The former first lady’s memoir delves into the Trump presidency and Sasha Obama’s martinis. Michelle Obama’s second memoir The Light We ...
Read More

Bishop Eatman’s 41st Pastoral Anniversary

The congregation of Mt. Pleasant Community Baptist Church in Harlem gathered at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture ...
Read More

Lena Horne first black actress to have Broadway theatre in her name

The theatre, on West 47th Street, was built in 1926 and is currently hosting the hit British musical Six. It ...
Read More

Witnessing Faith; The Photography of Bob Gore

I first experienced the Black church from the front row of Chicago’s Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, where my grandfather ...
Read More

Momentous Happenings at Monumental

For 196 years, Monumental Baptist Church in Philadelphia PA has served its faith community. On Sunday, November 13, 2022, the ...
Read More

AACEO First Friday Breakfast

The monthly meeting of the African American Clergy and Elected Officials (AACEO) held at Antioch Baptist Church brings together community ...
Read More

Newark Forward With Faith

The Newark Interfaith Alliance, the Mayor’s Office of Clergy Affairs, and the Newark Municipal Council held the Ninth Annual Newark ...
Read More

Mission Not Impossible

We often think it impossible to live whole, productive lives–living well in all aspects: spirit, ...

The General Baptist Convention of NJ Honors Our Veterans

Deeply felt gratitude, pride, and honor for their service took place at Mount Calvary Missionary ...

5 ways to enjoy holiday eating with GERD

You don’t have to miss out on delicious holiday food–you just need to know how ...

10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Don’t neglect your mental health. When we talk about being healthy, it is typically just ...

Women Working Through Housing Instability, Other Challenges

By Genoa Barrow, Word in Black | The AFRO When Shanitra Brown walks across the ...

Inspired by Dick Gregory, This D.C. Vegan is Still Teaching a Healthy Diet By Any Greens Necessary

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National [email protected] Dubbed a “Food Hero” by Vegetarian ...