FLOTUS mic-dropped the DNC before it even started, and are we surprised? Our First Lady has been delivering beautiful, soaring speeches since her husband’s first campaign trail, so we’ve come to expect greatness whenever she’s concerned.
If you’re craving more Michelle inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven of her best speeches from the past eight years:
The 2012 DNC
FLOTUS nails this one, sharing anecdotes about the unique people she’s met over the years of Barack’s political career. She’s unquestionably genuine in her admiration of diverse and hardworking Americans, and it shines through every minute of this speech. Be sure to stay for the part where she talks about what a dweeb Barack was when they started dating.
City College of New York Commencement
That this is Michelle’s last commencement speech as First Lady is enough to bring on the tears the minute she ascends the podium. She goes on to present a warm rumination on determination, on rediscovering our nation’s roots and creating a better future, and not reverting to the past.
“Some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective,” she says, alluding to the danger of Trump’s ideals. “They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped. They tell us to be afraid of those who are different…rather than the optimism and openness that have always been the engine of our progress.”
International Women’s Day
You can’t help feeling a fierce rush of feminism every time the First Lady says “girls.” (Not unlike the rush experienced when hearing Beyoncé do the same.) Her heart goes out to young women who deserve greater opportunities, and to girls around the world with optimism, ambition and the capacity to change the world.
The 2008 DNC
Before we fell in love with the Obamas, we had to get to know them; When Michelle took the stage at this convention, she was introducing herself and her husband to the country like we were on a first date. Sure, they look good on paper, but what about our chemistry, our connection? 2008 was full of hope and promise, but Michelle’s emphasis on family and commitment carried throughout her husband’s presidency. And then she and the girls video-chat Barack, and it’s just too cute.
Michelle doesn’t shy away from our country’s history of racism and violence in this speech, but reminds graduates that even the bad parts are part of their university’s complex story. She urges TU graduates not to feel intimidated by their eminent predecessors, or even by her own presence, and encourages them to dream and drive forward.
Maya Angelou Memorial Service
Like many American girls, Michelle Obama’s first toy was Malibu Barbie, so discovering the work of Maya Angelou was pivotal and empowering for her as a young black girl. The First Lady memorializes Angelou with reverence and pride. With her speech, Michelle herself becomes a symbol standing up for millions of black girls, a hero remembering her hero.
Oberlin was the first college in America to accept black students and give Bachelor’s degrees to women, and that it’s one of the few places she could have once gone to school is not lost on Michelle Obama. Like with her other commencement addresses, the First Lady recognizes that colleges create tight-knit communities, and that functioning as part of them is crucial to graduates’ futures. Change is hard, whether it’s graduating from school or trying to fix the country, but dedication goes a long way.