Maya Angelou Dwight Carter

Michelle Obama: Maya Angelou Changed the Way I Saw Myself

The Chicago Sun-Times publishes a transcript of the First Lady's moving speech during Angelou's memorial service, recognizing how she celebrated the beauty of Black women

by #teamEBONY, June 09, 2014

Maya Angelou Dwight Carter

Maya Angelou 

Photo courtesy of

Dwight Carter

During Maya Angelou's memorial service, First Lady Michelle Obama remarks on how the American icon celebrated the beauty of Black women. 

I was struck by how she celebrated Black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before. Our curves, our stride, our strength, our grace. Her words were clever and sassy; they were powerful and sexual and boastful. And in that one singular poem, Maya Angelou spoke to the essence of Black women, but she also graced us with an anthem for all women—a call for all of us to embrace our God-given beauty.

And, oh, how desperately Black girls needed that message. As a young woman, I needed that message. As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head.

Read it at Chicago Sun-Times.



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