In a preview clip from her last-ever interview as First Lady, Michelle Obama says my favorite word: “dag.” She also talks about being a subject of the angry black woman stereotype.
During her sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, which airs tonight on CBS, Oprah asks, “When you were labeled that ‘angry black woman,’ was that one of the things that knocked you back a bit?” (“Angry black woman,” to whom, is the question.) “That was one of those things that you just sort of think, Dag, you don’t even know me,” Michelle tells Oprah. “You think, wow that is so not me. But then you sort of think, well this isn’t about me. This is about the person or the people who write it.” Oprah swoops in with the namedrop: “That’s what Maya [Angelou] always used to say to me. Yes.”
FLOTUS continues, “And then you start thinking, oh wow, we’re so afraid of each other, you know. Color, wealth. These things that don’t matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another.” The First Lady previously addressed the “angry” perception in 2012 when New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor released her book, The Obamas, which purported to be an inside look at the Obamas life in the White House.
During a CBS interview with Gayle King at the time, Michelle said—having not read the book but likely been briefed about it and taken issue with her depiction—“That’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman. I just try to be me and my hope is that over time people get to know me and they get to judge me for me.” For her part, Kantor claimed the book never portrayed Michelle as an angry black woman, though aside from that, the conversation around this topic often diminishes the nuanced fact that perhaps a black woman in America has a right to be perturbed.
Above, in another clip from the Oprah interview, Michelle addresses whether she had any advice for her successor Melania Trump when they met. “We talked about the kids, but my offer to Melania was, you really don’t know what you don’t know until you’re here, so the door is always open, as I’ve told her. And as Laura Bush told me. And as other First Ladies told me,” says FLOTUS of the woman who stole her speech. “So I’m not new in this ‘going high’ thing. I’m modeling what was done for me by the Bushes.” Michelle adds, “We will do whatever they need to help them succeed.” Bless her patience.