Michelle Obama Wins Grammy For Best Spoken Word Album

Former United States first lady Michelle Obama can now add ‘Grammy Winner’ to her resume. File photo: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

 

Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and… Michelle Obama?

Yep.

The former first lady can now add Grammy winner to her resume, after snagging the award on music’s biggest night for Best Spoken Word Album, for the audiobook of her memoir “Becoming.”

Her win on Sunday gives the Obama household its third Grammy: former president Barack Obama has already snagged two Grammys in the same category for his books.

She faced an eccentric group of rivals that include Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys for “Beastie Boys Book” and John Waters, the director-performer known for his transgressive cult films, for “Mr. Know-It-All.”

Released in late 2018, “Becoming” saw the former first lady slam President Donald Trump for questioning her husband’s citizenship and promoting the notion that he was born abroad.

“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,” Obama wrote.

America’s first black first lady also dug into her personal life in her book, expounding on issues including a miscarriage, using in-vitro fertilization to conceive her daughters and marriage counseling.

AFP

Burna Boy’s Song Makes Michelle Obama’s Playlist For 2020

 

Barely a few weeks after former US President Barack Obama’s revealed his favourite music list containing a song by Nigerian Music Star, Burna Boy, his wife Michelle has done the same.

A song by the African Giant which is titled ‘My Money’ ‘My Baby’ sits on the fourth position on Michelle Obama’s workout playlist for 2020.

Obama revealed in a post on her Instagram handle that the playlist helps her go through her toughest workout sessions.

READ ALSO: ‘I Thought I Didn’t Have The Nicest Clothes’ – Africa’s Most Beautiful Girl

“It’s about that time when New Year’s goals and resolutions get just a bit harder to stick to. To offer a little inspiration, I want to share my go-to 2020 #WorkoutPlaylist with all of you.

“These songs always seem to give me that extra boost to get through my toughest workouts. What’s on your playlist? #IAmBecoming #SelfcareSunday,” she wrote.

 

Michelle Obama Asks Vietnam Girls To Stay In School

Former US first lady Michelle Obama attends the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. CHRIS DELMAS / AFP

 

Former US first lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood A-lister Julia Roberts toured a high school in rural Vietnam on Monday, urging a classroom of teenage girls to stay focused on their education to transform their lives. 

The promotion of girls’ schooling has been the cornerstone of Obama’s charitable work since her husband Barack Obama left office in 2017 after two terms as US president.

“When you educate a girl you give them power and a voice and an opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their family and the lives of their community,” Obama said at Can Giuoc high school in southern Long An province in the Mekong Delta.

Accompanied by Roberts and Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former US president George W. Bush, Obama encouraged the girls to stay the course of schooling.

“I want you all to stay committed and focused, it will get tough at times — it already has for some of you — but it is well worth it,” she said, before the women sat and chatted with students.

“Even if your families don’t understand that today, trust me they will, when you go off to college or start your businesses,” she added.

With its booming youth population and fast-growing economy, Vietnam routinely outperforms its neighbours in education rankings, especially in math and sciences.

School enrolment rates are also high at 91.7 percent, but the quality of schooling often drops off in rural areas, and in the poorest pockets of the country economic pressures can force girls out of school early.

Student Truong Thi Hai Yen said Obama’s visit — and life story — was a major motivation.

“She kept trying every day to be better and now we can see that she is very successful,” the 16-year-old told AFP.

In her best-selling book “Becoming”, Harvard-educated Obama details how her own education and good teachers shaped her life and paved her path to becoming a successful lawyer, university administrator and advocate.

The Obamas have dedicated much of their time post-presidency to the non-profit Obama Foundation, which includes the Girls Opportunity Alliance initiative that Michelle promoted in Vietnam on Monday.

The former first lady announced last week a $500,000 donation to the Alliance’s work world-wide, money earned from merchandise sales related to her book.

She will travel next to Malaysia with Barack and Roberts to speak at an Obama Foundation Leaders event on Tuesday.

AFP

Michelle Obama Steals Show At The Grammys, Delights Crowd With Girl Power Message

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez speak onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy/AFP Emma McIntyre / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the Grammys stage Sunday to deliver a message about music and women’s empowerment alongside superstars Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, host Alicia Keys and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.

“Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song,” said the former first lady, looking glam in a sparkling gunmetal pantsuit with a 1970s-esque wrap jacket.

“Is that right, ladies?” she said to resounding applause.

The Recording Academy behind the awards gala has faced a barrage of criticism for not embracing diversity within its ranks, after nearly muting women nominees at the show last year.

This year, five of the eight nominees for Album of the Year are women: rapper Cardi B, folk-rock singer Brandi Carlile, pop futurist Janelle Monae, R&B prodigy H.E.R. and country star Kacey Musgraves.

At the start of the segment, Lady Gaga — a triple winner so far on the night — said: “They told me I was weird… And music told me not to listen to them.”

READ ALSO: Full List Of Nominees And Winners At The 2019 Grammy Awards

Lopez — who has parlayed her successful music career into acting — said that music “kept me moving from the block to the big stages and even bigger screens.”

Pinkett-Smith added: “Every voice we hear deserves to be honored and respected.”

And Obama added: “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in.”

Obama quickly started trending on Twitter.

The moment came at the start of a show showcasing the female talent in the music business, one year after women were largely snubbed in the major categories.

Neil Portnow, the head of the Recording Academy, told women last year to “step up” if they wanted to do better on Grammys night.

The brazen comment drew outrage and Portnow said he would step down when his contract expires this summer.

On Sunday, the message was unmistakable — one of diversity.

“Thank you so much, ladies, for your light, your message of love, your sisterhood,” said Keys, the first woman to helm the show in 14 years.

“Give it up for these magnificent goddesses!” said Keys.

 

AFP

George W. Bush Has Sweet Exchange With Michelle Obama At Father’s Funeral

 

Former US president George W. Bush shared a light moment with former First Lady Michelle Obama at the funeral for his father George H.W. Bush on Wednesday, appearing to slip her a piece of candy before the service began.

The 43rd US president had also given Michelle Obama a mint during the memorial service in September for Arizona Senator John McCain.

As the 72-year-old Bush arrived at the National Cathedral for the state funeral for his father — the 41st US president — he shook hands with President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.

Bush then shook hands with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, causing her to smile when he passed her what appeared to be a piece of candy.

Bush then continued down the row, shaking hands with former president Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.

Michelle Obama later explained the exchange at the McCain memorial during an interview on NBC’s Today show.

“We are forever seatmates because of protocol,” she said of Bush. “That’s how we sit at all the official functions so he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather.

“So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man,” she said.

George H.W. Bush died on Friday at the age of 94.

Michelle Obama On Book Tour Encourages Girls At London School

Former US first lady Michelle Obama (L) speaks with Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (R) at the Royal Festival Hall in London on December 3, 2018, during a tour to promote her memoir, “Becoming”. PHOTO: BEN STANSALL / AFP

 

Michelle Obama on Monday returned to a London school she had visited as US first lady encouraging students to “practice sisterhood” as she presented a new memoir of her life.

Obama is in the British capital to promote her hotly anticipated book, “Becoming”, which has already sold more copies than any other book published in the United States this year.

She told some 300 students — mostly girls aged between 11 and 18 — at a north London school that her past visit there as the first lady in 2009 had inspired her to work for better education.

“I was moved, touched and inspired as I always am by young people I meet around the world,” said the 54-year-old mother of two and first African American first lady.

“You reminded me of me, all the fears, the challenges you face. You guys gave me a sense of comfort.”

Obama confessed to facing numerous hurdles and confronting teachers who “underestimated me at every step”.

“I was told: ‘I don’t think you are Princeton material’. My dreams were too high.”

But Obama graduated from the select Ivy League university and went on to Harvard Law School before joining a Chicago law firm where she met her future husband and President Barack Obama.

She urged the London students to find strength in each other as they overcome their own doubters and naysayers.

“Practice that kind of sisterhood,” Michelle Obama said. “There are enough obstacles around.”

The students seemed amazed that such a famous speaker came to their school.

“It did not really sink in that it was her,” 11-year-old Emma said.

Michelle Obama has however cancelled book tour stops in Paris and Berlin to attend the funeral of former US president George H.W. Bush, who died Friday aged 94.

Later at the capital’s Southbank Centre, where she discussed her book with author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she was asked what message she wanted to give to young black women.

“What happens to black women, you become a caricature … the size of her hips, her style… We are demonised,” she said.

“We are angry, too loud, too everything. My advice: start by getting those demons out of your head and tell yourself ‘I’m good enough’.”

AFP

Michelle Obama Slams Trump In New Book

Former US first lady Michelle Obama attends the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. Credit: CHRIS DELMAS / AFP

 

Former US first lady Michelle Obama says she can “never forgive” Donald Trump for questioning her husband’s American citizenship, saying the president and other “birthers” put her family at risk, in her hotly anticipated new memoir.

Obama also says she was surprised that so many American women voted for the “misogynist” Trump over Hillary Clinton, “an exceptionally qualified female candidate,” in the 2016 election.

The book, “Becoming,” hits stores on Tuesday. Obama, 54, will head out on a multi-city arena tour to promote the memoir, with celebrity friends like Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon tapped to moderate the events.

It is one of the most awaited books about US politics in years, and Obama does not mince words about her husband’s successor — and his involvement in promoting the idea that Barack Obama was born abroad.

“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,” she writes, in excerpts of the book published by ABC News and The Washington Post.

“But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she adds.

“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?

“Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.”

Obama also said her body “buzzed with fury” after hearing the “Access Hollywood” tape on which Trump bragged about being able to grab women with impunity.

Trump did not waste time in responding.

“Michelle Obama got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always insist you come up with controversy. I’ll give you some back,” he told reporters at the White House before heading on a trip to France.

“I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military by not funding it properly. (…) What he did to our military made this country unsafe.”

 Personal history 

In the book, America’s first black first lady goes beyond politics, digging deep into some personal issues from a miscarriage to using in-vitro fertilization to conceive her daughters to marriage counseling.

“I felt lost and alone, and I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” Obama told ABC News in an interview.

“We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”

Fertility treatments allowed her to conceive daughters Malia, now 20, and Sasha, 17.

“It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can’t will themselves into being pregnant,” she writes.

“We had to do IVF,” she told ABC, in excerpts of an interview that will air in full on Sunday.

She revisits the thrill of her romance with Barack, which began when she was his advisor at a Chicago law firm, describing it as a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.”

But she admits the couple on occasion turned to counseling, where they “learned how to talk out” problems.

Upon Trump’s election, the Obamas faded from the spotlight for a time, retreating to their mansion in an upscale area of the US capital and refraining from overtly political statements.

That silence has now passed, with the former president campaigning actively for Democratic candidates in the run-up to the midterm elections and the former first lady speaking at get-out-the-vote rallies.

Michelle Obama will have more opportunity to speak out as her book tour, which begins in her hometown Chicago, rolls on to New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Boston and other cities.

AFP

Barack And Michelle Obama Sign Netflix Production Deal

 

Barack and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service announced on Monday.

The former first couple have launched Higher Ground Productions to produce a variety of content for the video streamer, possibly including scripted series, documentaries and features.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Obama, who served two terms in the White House from 2009, said in a statement.

“That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix. We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

The Obamas already have a large social media presence — a combined 150 million followers on Twitter and Instagram — but the deal will see their influence boosted significantly by Netflix’s 125 million subscribers in 190 countries.

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

The statement didn’t discuss money, but their time in the White House has already begun to reap lucrative dividends for the Obamas, who negotiated book deals last year reportedly worth more than $60 million.

Former US first lady Michelle Obama attends the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. PHOTO: CHRIS DELMAS / AFP

 

A much-awaited memoir by Michelle Obama is due to be released on November 13, publisher Penguin Random House said in February, describing her as “one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.”

The Obamas met while he was an intern and she his adviser at a Chicago law firm, and they were soon married. She became his closest confidante during his political rise.

Michelle used her influence as one of the world’s most high-profile public figures to advocate for the rights of women and girls and campaigned for Americans to live healthier lives.

The Obamas are not planning to use Netflix to counter President Donald Trump or other conservatives, but will focus instead on “storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” the former first lady said.

AFP

Michelle Obama Says No Miracle Candidate Will ‘Save’ America

Former US first lady Michelle Obama attends the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. PHOTO: CHRIS DELMAS / AFP

 

Michelle Obama has urged women not to expect a miracle candidate to “save” America indicating again she has no plans to run for president as some have speculated.

The former first lady, 54, was greeted like a rock star at a conference called the United State of Women Summit, with an audience of some 5,000 people in Los Angeles, almost all women.

“It doesn’t matter who runs,” she said, urging women to act for women’s empowerment wherever they can — including at home and in the workplace.

“We don’t wait for the one person to save us. We voted for Barack Obama and he didn’t end racism,” she said.

Obama also paid tribute to young Americans who have risen up against gun violence following Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students and staffers dead.

Other speakers at the conference included actress Jane Fonda and Tarana Burke, a key figure in the #MeToo movement that arose after the flood of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

AFP

Obama Reveals Unconventional Portrait By Nigerian Painter

Former U.S. President Barack Obama stands next to his newly unveiled portrait during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. The portraits were commissioned by the Gallery, for Kehinde Wiley to create President Obama’s portrait, and Amy Sherald that of Michelle Obama. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Former US first couple Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled their portraits at Washington’s National Gallery Monday, two contrasting works by African American artists that shocked and delighted.

The paintings by Amy Sherald and Nigerian-born Kehinde Wiley commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, were revealed at a star-studded event that is a rite of passage for most former American presidents.

The museum holds portraits of all American ex-commanders in chief, but these latest additions stand in stark contrast to the more buttoned-down approach of traditional presidential portraiture.

Both show their subjects – America’s first black presidential couple – looking cool and confident, a stark contrast to the bubbling swamp of anger and braggadocio that is political Washington today.

Wiley painted the ex-president against a signature lush botanical backdrop.

Obama, in a serious seated pose at the edge of a wooden chair, is enmeshed in a thicket of leaves and flowers that recall the tropical hues of the 44th president’s home state of Hawaii.

“How about that? That’s pretty sharp,” Obama joked, as he thanked staff and friends in attendance.

The internet quickly got busy making jokes about him being stuck in a bush.

Artist Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherald attend their official portrait unveiling of former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

‘Charm And Hotness’

Obama also praised Sherald for “so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman that I love.”

The Baltimore-based artist rendered Michelle Obama in her trademark grayscale, with only a few splashes of coral, pink and yellow, against an eggshell blue backdrop.

The resulting image makes the subject’s race almost an afterthought.

Obama’s dress – true to form for a first lady whose wardrobe was often the focus of attention – dominates the frame.

As in Sherald’s previous paintings of African American subjects, Michelle Obama appears poised and powerful as she looks down on the viewer.

Obama’s portrait will be hung alongside those of former presidents, including the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.

Michelle Obama’s likeness will hang at the gallery until November this year.

The official portraits of the Obamas, which will be at displayed the White House, have not yet been commissioned.

Melania Trump Harvests Michelle Obama’s Vegetable Garden

US First Lady Melania Trump works in the White House kitchen garden with children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2017. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

Melania Trump made her first foray into the White House’s vegetable garden Friday, following in the footsteps of its creator and her predecessor, Michelle Obama.

Dressed down in jeans, a plaid shirt, and red gardening gloves, the first lady harvested and planted fresh produce alongside a dozen 11- and 12-year-old children.

“Thank you for coming and helping me to harvest,” she told the children, who tended to plants including lettuce, radishes, carrots and turnips.

The immaculate White House Kitchen Garden — which can be seen through the gates to the White House South Lawn — was established in 2009 by Michelle Obama as part of her work fighting childhood obesity.

A stone left in the garden says she created it “with the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children.”

“Healthy, nurturing and positive environments are instrumental in enhancing the well-being and mindfulness of all children,” Trump said in a statement, suggesting she is keen to continue Obama’s work.

She added the garden is “a prime example of how children can enjoy the outdoors and learn about healthy eating and living.”

The vegetable garden is the first grown at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s “victory garden,” planted in 1943.

Obama Rules Out Ground Troops In Syria

obamaUnited States President, Barack Obama, has ruled out deploying US ground troops in Syria.

He told the BBC that it would be a mistake for the United States or Great Britain to send in ground troops and overthrow the Assad regime, and that military efforts alone cannot solve the country’s problems.

Mr Obama also does not believe that the Islamic State would be defeated in his last nine months of office.

He was speaking during his three-day visit to the UK.

The US President, however, offered an assurance that the US-led coalition would continue to strike Islamic State targets in places like Raqqa, try to isolate and lock down those portions of the country that are sending foreign fighters into Europe.