The YouTube original Black Renaissance: The Art and Soul of Our Stories is currently streaming and features some powerful words by the former first lady Michelle Obama.
Black Renaissance: The Art and Soul of Our Stories is a Black History Month feature that shines a light on the creatives and history makers who shaped the world. President Obama, Kelly Rowland, H.E.R., Stacey Abrams and Bob The Drag Queen and more are just a few of the people who lent their voices to this powerful project. However, it was Obama who had some of the most impactful comments, directly calling out racism in the current cultural climate.
“Your generation knows all too well that those old fault lines of fear, racism and discrimination based on the color of your skin weren’t erased by a civil war or the passing of the Civil Rights Act and certainly the election of a Black president,” Obama began.
“You’ve seen too much, too much hate in the news and in your social media feeds, too many torches burning and racist flags waving, too many Black folks shot cold or choked out, too many folks ransacking the very center of our democracy. And too often, this behavior goes unchecked and unpunished, leaving us with the sad realization that in America, liberty, justice, and accountability are not for all, and it all leaves a pit in your stomach.”
She continued, “It courses through your nerves the minute you step out the door, and it feels like a threat not just to our country or even to our rights but to us, to our safety, to our lives. And when you’re faced with all of that, the natural response is to want to turn inward, to harden yourselves against the outside world. Look, I understand that instinct. Believe me, I do.”
Mrs. Obama also added, But I’ve also learned that shutting everything out is only a temporary fix. And you and me? We need something that lasts. In politics, yes, we’ve gotta participate, we’ve gotta vote, but even more than that, we need something that allows us to live fully and freely to be who we are every second of every day. And that means we gotta let people in, into our stories, into our experiences, into our hopes and our fears and our rawest vulnerabilities. We gotta talk it out. We gotta write it out, rhyme it out, sing it out, shout it out and do it all with all the sweetness and hope and frustration and joy and celebration that makes us who we are….we’ve gotta share it with everybody, because that’s how we help people see the truth of who we are.”
Watch below, Mrs. Obama begins at the 1:13 mark: