Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP, March 29, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the beauty, power and tenacity of black women while spreading her own message of education for girls at Black Girls Rock!, an annual event honoring trailblazing women of color from all walks of life.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful,” Obama told the crowd, which included many young black girls.
“I am so proud of you. My husband, your president, is so proud of you,” she added. “We have so much hope and dreams for you.”
Obama got arguably the night’s loudest ovation as she came on stage and declared “Black girls rock!”–the slogan and name of the organization founded by Beverly Bond. It is designed to uplift young black girls, a group that often has difficulty finding positive and reaffirming images of themselves in the world.
Obama acknowledged as much in her speech to celebrate three young honorees.
“I know there are voices that you are not good enough,” she said, acknowledging that she often lacked self-confidence growing up despite encouraging parents.
“Each of those doubts was like a test,” she said, “that I either shrink away from or rise to meet. And I decided to rise.”
“There is nothing more important than being serious about your education,” the Ivy League-educated Obama said. “That’s why I am able to stand here tonight. . . . I want every one of our black girls do to the same, and our black boys.”