Michelle Obama Discusses Her Transition Out of the White House With Sarah Jessica Parker
"I couldn't have written a different book, because I like to tell the truth," said the former first lady on Wednesday night during the promotional tour for her memoir, 'Becoming.'
Michelle Obama concluded the first leg of her book tour for her memoir Becoming in front of a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
In conversation with actress Sarah Jessica Parker, the former first lady discussed her childhood in Chicago, her first impression of her husband and life since leaving the White House.
Her memoir, the fastest-selling book of the year, takes an in-depth look at the events that defined Obama's ascendancy into the public eye, rarely shying away from the most difficult moments during her eight years in the White House.
"It's sort of my obligation to share and be truthful, because a lot of people look up to folks like us. So they need to know all of the story," Obama said. "I couldn't have written a different book, because I like to tell the truth. Go figure."
As of last week, the memoir has sold over 3 million copies since its November release.
The event featured several live and video segments, including guest appearances from singer Alicia Keys and celebrity chefs Ina Garten and Rachel Ray, who prefaced Obama's appearance alongside a third-generation military veteran and a local Girl Scout. Each shared who they were "becoming" before the crowd.
"I am becoming more myself, unapologetically myself with no desire for outside approval," Keys said upon the Barclays Center stage. "I am deepening, I am blossoming. We are the greatest we have ever been, and we won't dim our light for anybody."
Other guest moderators on the first leg of the tour included Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Tracee Ellis Ross. Former President Barack Obama also made an appearance at his wife's Washington stop.
"We're very sentimental — we miss you," said Parker, who served on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities during the Obama administration. "Watching the quick story of your life, it's wonderful to see but it's painful because I think we miss a more civilized time."
Obama used her platform to expound on stories detailed within her book, including her transition out of the White House on President Donald Trump's inauguration day.
She likened the transition between administrations to a situation straight out of Jordan Peele's Get Out, a metaphor met with applause. "Don't look at the tea cup, don't look at the spoon," Obama said with a laugh.
In Becoming, Obama is open about the onslaught of criticism she received as the country's first black first lady. "Barack and I spent eight years trying to operate in complete perfection, because we didn't feel like we had a margin for error," Obama said. "Oftentimes, when you're the first or the only, the bar shifts a lot."
Obama, nee Robinson, said part of the reason she wrote the book is to remind others of the context from which she constructed her values.
"We have to know our stories, feel comfortable with all of our stories and all the context of it too, because part of that history — the way to understand Michelle Robinson, to understand Michelle Obama — is to understand the context," Obama said. "My parents taught us that context too. You can't just look at somebody where they are. You have to know their whole story."
The book tour's second leg will kick off in February. All tour dates are available on the book's website.