Women are reshaping America’s leadership as evidenced in the November mid-term elections. Now a former First Lady has been packaged as a seductive rock star the likes of Madonna, Cher, Oprah, Beyoncé and now, Michelle. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker are expected to be along as well when Michelle Obama launches her book tour in her hometown of Chicago, Nov. 13. Her inspirational memoir entitled “Becoming” is the first of a two book deal with Crown, part of Penguin Random House.
In the deeply personal book the former First Lady talks about her roots in the South side of Chicago as well as her law career, her miscarriage, in vitro-fertilization, balancing motherhood, the White House years and her distaste for President Trump. Although the six previous First Ladies penned books, this one is different. Michelle, 54, is unique. By virtue of being the first African American First Lady and mother, she has already made history. She is using her strong, authentic voice to inspire readers, her arena audiences and women throughout the world to gain the courage to become who they aspire to be. The cover photo shot by Washington DC- based photographer Miller Mobley is casually glam with Michelle’s long hair flowing and wearing a off-the-shoulder white Tee. Her warm smile is infectious and genuine.
Where will Michelle Obama’s hat land after her whirlwind tour of large arenas across the country? Is this well-promoted tour a trial balloon? She is trying to squash rumors and questions as to whether she, herself, is running for the White House. “I’ve never wanted to be a politician,” she has repeated over and over. But she does want to use her voice and make an impact. If not from the White House, at least at the top of the NYT best seller list. The Obamas also inked a deal with Netflix to produce a series and film.
Don’t expect to catch her at a neighborhood Barnes & Noble or one of the few remaining indie book stores. This is prime time with a big price tag to actually get a glimpse of the former First Lady albeit at a distance. It’s not your run of the mill book tour; she’ll be playing large indoor arenas. Sales have been so swift that additional “shows” have been added in New York and Washington DC.
People connect with her, especially women. Roberta Pearson, is traveling with a friend from Portland, ME to Brooklyn to catch a glimpse of the former First Lady: “Just being in the same room with Michelle,” says Pearson, “gives me a glimmer of hope in the middle of this madness.”
Maya Litovsky, a New York City fashion editor, is a Michelle fan, too: “She has good ideas, is educated and articulate and would bring eight years experience to the White House.”
Diana Crowley, a former Washingtonian, respects Michelle as well. “She believes in government as public service, a civic duty, as opposed to politics as a profession,” explains Crowley, now living in So Carolina.
Michelle has found where her voice works best. The price of talk has escalated to an all time high. Michelle’s tour is promoted by Live Nation Entertainment, the top concert promoters in the world. Prices are competitive with rock stars. In Dallas, a single ticket price in a Flagship suite will set you back a mere $12,480.
The lucky ones scored tickets to Barclays Center. The demand for tickets was such that a second appearance has been added on December 19. VIP tickets for “An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama” are listed at $3000. If you go to DC on November 17, you can secure a ticket for $2750 at Capital One Arena. And these venues are anything but intimate with thousands of seats and large overhead screens.
Michelle doesn’t have to run for political office to assure that her voice heard. The coffers are overflowing. Tickets were as high as $9500 in other cities on Vividseats.com, a third party website. And bids were high on the site, Biddingforgood, for two premium first row floor seats at Boston Garden on Nov. 24. The seats then went to live auction benefitting Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The affluent want a front row seat to hear first hand what it as like to be America’s first African-American First Lady. And for others who didn’t get priced out, $29.50 secured a seat in the nose bleed section. After all, it’s history! She’s likely to continue making history from the platform of her choice.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to unspecified non-profits, likely schools and community groups. Her 2016 campaign philosophy, “When they go low, we go high,” is a message of hope for younger generations. What can African American women become in America? There are no limits, even the Presidency is no longer out of reach.
Michelle tweeted, “Truly humbled by the response to my upcoming book tour.” Each of the appearances is likely to gross millions of dollar, echoing her appeal especially to women, White and Black alike. And as she’s said and believes: “Hope wins out.” Her message to others: “Own your story.”
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