Michelle Obama Makes It Clear She's So Over The White House Life
Speaking in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a packed crowd in a keynote address for the music portion of the annual SXSW festival. Obama appeared on a panel with some of the music and entertainment industry's top artists, including Missy Eliot, Diane Warren, and Sophia Bush, which was moderated by Oscar-nominee and Grammy award-winning Queen Latifah. But it was clear that despite her star-studded company, all eyes were on the First Lady. While Obama was asked a number of fangirl (and fanboy) questions by Latifah, the most significant one asked of the first lady: Will you run for president?
The First Lade made it definitely clear that no, she would not follow Hillary Clinton's lead and make a White House run — prompting many disheartened "boo's" from the audience. "I will not run for president," Obama said, citing her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, as the main reason. "I got these two young people at home. Being the daughters of a president -- just think about it ... They handled it with grace and poise but enough is enough."
However, the First Lady made it clear she will continue her philanthropic work, the kind of work that drew her to the stage at SXSW. The the main purpose of the First Lady's appearance was to promote her new initiative to secure global educational opportunities for women, Let Girls Learn. Obama's appearance was timed with the premiere of a new anthem for the Let Girls Learn initiative, "This Is For My Girls," which features the First Lady singing along with Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya, and Janelle Monae, as well as the launch of a hashtag #62MillionGirls, a reference to the 62 million girls across the world who aren't in school. "For me, 62 million girls not getting an education, that's personal," Obama said.
And when she wasn't talking about which musician influenced her the most (Stevie Wonder) or gracing the crowd with a brief rendition of Boyz II Men's, Obama was focused on female empowerment. Speaking about the all-women panel and anthem, she said, "It's just a sign of what a group of women can do together. We can change the world. We can have an impact on these girls, and they don't even know we're doing it."
When a man in the audience asked what he and the rest of his sex could do to help advance women, Obama made a point of saying, "When you have a seat at the table, and you have access to power, the question you can ask yourselves, is there diversity around the table? Are there voices and opinions that don’t sound like yours? ... If you're a man at a table and there are only men around, you should ask yourself, 'How can I do better?'"
Perhaps, the most tweetable remark from the First Lady was, "We need you, men. Get it together."