Michelle Obama says there is not enough diversity in TV and movies and says it is “critical” for people to understand each other.
“My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen,” Obama said when talking to Variety about using pop culture to push the things that matter to her. The 52-year-old first lady said she is a product of “pop culture” and the shows she grew up watching shaped who she is and why it’s important that there’s more diversity in entertainment. (RELATED: Michelle Obama Is Doing ‘Carpool Karaoke)
“For so many people, television and movies may be the only way they understand people who aren’t like them,” Obama said. “And when I come across many little black girls who come up to me over the course of this 7½ years with tears in their eyes, and they say: ‘Thank you for being a role model for me. I don’t see educated black women on TV, and the fact that you’re first lady validates who I am.'”
“My mom says it all the time: ‘People are so enamored of Michelle and Barack Obama,'” she added. “And she says, ‘There are millions of Michelle and Barack Obamas.’ We’re not new.”
“We’re not special,” she continued. “People who come from intact families who are educated, who have values, who care for their kids, who raise their kids — if you don’t see that on TV, and you don’t live in communities with people like me, you never know who we are, and you can make and be susceptible to all sorts of assumptions and stereotypes and biases, based on nothing but what you see and hear on TV. So it becomes very important for the world to see different images of each other, so that, again, we can develop empathy and understanding.”