Malia Obama Is Creating Her Own Lane: Joins Writing Staff Of Donald Glover's 8-Figure Amazon Project
One of our forever first family members are making some moves and we are here for it! The eldest daughter of the Obama clan, Malia Obama, has joined the writers room for a potential series that Donald Glover is producing as part of his newly inked 8-figure overall deal for Amazon Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And this is quite the first job for the upcoming college grad who is set to graduate from Harvard University as part of the class of 2021.
Our good sis has shown interest in Hollywood for quite some time, as in the past, she landed an internship with The Weinstein Company (2017) after having previously interned on HBO's comedy Girls and worked as a production assistant on CBS' Halle Berry drama Extant.
Or in other words, don't play with our cousin, she is coming for her coins!
The usually lowkey daughter may not be on TikTok (although she has had her own stint of living her best life), but she is ready for her close-up. And it showed in her mom's documentary, Becoming, where she was able to speak life into her mother after watching her on a tour stop. She says to her mom:
"You're so good, I love you too much."
After reiterating how proud she is, she then adds:
"This has demonstrated in a way ... those eight years weren't for nothing. You know? You see that huge crowd out there and that last kind of speech you gave about — people are here because people really believe in hope and hope in other people."
Another scene cuts to a glimpse of the two sisters discussing what's next for their very famous family. "I'm excited for her to be proud of what she's done," Sasha says in the clip referencing her mom. "Because I think that's the most important thing for a human to do is be proud of themselves."
"No longer facing that same scrutiny, being able to let all of that leave your mind, creates so much more space," says a fearless Malia.
The same was done for dad, who disclosed that over the summer, the two were in "organizer mode" for BLM protests last summer.
"I didn't have to give them a lot of advice because they had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong and [of] their own agency and the power of their voice and the need to participate. Malia and Sasha found their own ways to get involved with the demonstrations and activism that you saw with young people this summer, without any prompting from Michelle and myself, on their own initiative. They didn't do it in a way where they were looking for limelight. They were very much in organizer mode, I could not have been prouder of them."
We stan philanthropic, young black ladies who step fully into their purpose!
As for Glover, the multi-multi-multi-hyphenate is taking his talents to Amazon after having previously worked with FX. The new deal cancels out current deal with FX, where his critically acclaimed series Atlanta, which has been on hiatus since 2018, is set to begin production on seasons three and four in March.
We can't wait to see the brilliance this duo has up their sleeves!
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Featured image via Kamil Krzaczynski/EPA
As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Rocky's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
It was another performance, another night in Seoul. Here I was, on stage, dancing in super tight latex bottoms that had my tiger stripes on full display, and wondering how I had gotten to that point. My group and I were performing at a nightclub that night as we would often do. I remember looking over and seeing a couple watching nearby. The guy was really into my performance—his girlfriend, not so much.
Anyway, these particular latex bottoms showed part of my butt cheek, which made me so self-conscious about even setting foot on stage. But this was the performance that I signed up for, so I went for it. I gave it all that I had. The audience loved me.
Suddenly, the girlfriend got upset, and the couple left the club.
To be honest, I was so confused by her reaction. Like, sis, I'm working. But this night, like so many others, jump-started a clear understanding of how much of an impact that we can have on others. Here I was, extremely insecure about my own body, and unknowingly inducing such a strong reaction from the strangers I was showing it to.
If you haven't figured it out yet, no, I'm not a stripper, I'm a burlesque dancer in the depths of Seoul, Korea. I've been doing this for years, actually, and I'm one of the best in the industry. I started on a whim and used it as a means to make money and get acclimated to performing.
Photo Courtesy of Erockfor
I've lived in Korea off and on since 2014, initially to teach English. Basically, I was broke and needed a source of income because my bills were piling up. Relocating for a career became my plan of action.
My aim wasn't to move to Seoul to pursue music. It was to get myself out of debt.
I got married at the young age of 23, and I'll be the first to say that both of us were too young to have made that decision. We weren't compatible at all. We fought all the time about everything—big and small. It was abusive, even—something I've never said out loud before. Nothing about my marriage felt right.
A couple years into it, I started a translation business and was fortunate to see it do well during its beginning stages. One month, I made $6,000, which is major to a married 20-something. I felt on top of the world. Because of my success, I was willing to stay in the relationship even though it brought me zero joy. This caused me to put every ounce of my focus into my business and making money. Then, when my business started failing (my main client didn't need as much work anymore), I was stripped of everything I had relied on to bring me joy.
I was confronted with how miserable my living situation was. I was also broke again, which made everything worse.
So, in 2014, I took my little booty and boarded a plane to Seoul. I didn't have a plan whatsoever, and ultimately, I was just running to escape my bad relationship and financial woes.
It was the bravest thing I had ever done, even though I had no clue I was brave.
Life In Seoul
I'm of Cameroonian descent, born and raised in Montreal, Canada. So, although I stand out, a new culture never phased me. When I arrived, I got so caught up in pursuing "realistic" careers, that I put my music on hold and decided to publish a poetry book while working as an English teacher, writer, and translator.
I remember the first negative review I got on it too. It was my first attempt at creativity outside of my usual burlesque performances, and I was so crushed—in tears, even. Eventually, I developed a thicker skin.
I can't be everyone's cup of tea.
Also, lots of people simply try to project how they feel about themselves onto you. It's rarely personal, so I stopped taking it that way.
Another tough lesson.
Anyway, Korea is an amazing place once you become familiar. The dating is terrible, though, and I've had more weird run-ins than I care to count. But I also learned the importance of having confidence in myself. I mean, you have to be confident to live abroad—whether you're aware of that confidence or not. It's hard being away from my family. It isn't always the most fun thing, but, I'm happy I chose this path.
Okay, getting back on track with my story: one day, out of the blue, I decided I was done with just getting by. Singing makes me so freaking happy, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
It was time.
The Birth of Erockfor
When converting to a full-time artist, I knew I didn't want to release music to crickets. By this time, I had built a platform as a poet (from my book release), and I knew I could rely on it to gradually test the waters. The plan was to pull a switch on them, like surprise! I'm a singer now! Well I always have been, but hopefully y'all will still rock with me! I mean, I do music for the love of it, but I also have to be able to sustain myself, so I've had to learn how to sell myself.
And self-belief is a superpower.
You can make great music, but what's your story? I've had to become clear on what my story is.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by erockfor (rocky) 록키 🎤 (@erockfor) on Aug 12, 2019 at 8:52am PDT
Now, I'm in a good space. I've been covered by various publications, and I've somehow managed to gain a crazy amount of support from Korean millennials. I've been compared to Macy Gray, Cyndi Lauper, Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse—which vocally, it definitely makes sense. I've also been exploring more Afrobeats. It's important for me to have that element of my heritage present in my music, as well as exploring different genres. Montreal is an extremely multicultural city so I have so many influences.
My music represents me perfectly and other first-gen kids who grew up in big cities.
Legacy, Legacy, Legacy
I believe in healing and taking the utmost care of my being. I meditate, I make holy water (which I bless myself, spray all over my apartment and drink), and I do yoga. I look over my intentions for 2020. I remind myself that my great-grandma was a high priestess and that I'm named after her. I recently got into stoicism, so I try to see the opportunity in everything and try to observe things objectively. I'm also very spiritual. I protect myself with mantras, which can act as spells.
Mantras are magic.
It's not lost on me how amazing it is to be able to travel and live life abroad. When I was a kid, my family couldn't afford it—it just wasn't my reality. But because higher learning is really affordable in Montreal, I was able to pay for my education just by working at coffee shops or restaurants and freelancing as a writer. My undergrad experience is the reason I was able to teach in Korea in the first place. When I was choosing a country to teach in, the fact that there was a community of black women definitely swayed me. I've gotten messages from black women asking me how I was able to teach here or sing and act here. I think it's important to tell your full story, as much as you feel comfortable to do so. Representation is important and I'm happy to show that a first-gen Canadian of Cameroonian descent can pursue a blossoming singing career all the way in Seoul.
At one point, I said I'd be content only singing in cafes or bars. And that's fine if it's not coming from a place of fear. But it was, and I was afraid of my potential in failing. Now, I see stadiums and award shows in my future. Why not? Ladies, let's go for it. Build on your skills. Never disqualify yourself, ever. Just try.
You may watch Erockfor's latest visual for "How Will I Know" here. You can also follow her on Instagram for her latest updates.
If you have a story you'd like to share, but aren't sure about how to put it into words, contact us at email@example.com with the subject "As Told To" for your story to be featured.
Featured image courtesy of Erockfor
There's no greater feeling in the world than curling up with a good book, losing yourself in the pages, and forgetting the world around you. But in between juggling busy schedules and the demands of our personal lives, finding the time to crack open one of our favorite titles can seem like a goal only achievable through the imagination. But for one "Bookstagrammer", it's not just a fairy tale, it's her reality.
Meet Kici Cofield, a 25-year-old bookworm who has managed to read 52 books a year for the last two years (that's one book for each week of the year, if you're keeping count). The Hampton University and Northwestern University alumna is a self-proclaimed introvert who found solace in the recharging powers of the stories she would read.
Since many of Kici's friends would turn to her for book and food recommendations, she decided to launch an Instagram page, Well Read and Fed, solely dedicated to her latest reads and foodie adventures. What started off as a "just a little side project" has turned into a growing community of millennial readers eager to share and exchange their love of books and recommendations among one another.
Still, you're probably wondering how she fits so many books in throughout the year; according to her, it all comes down to focus. She says, "I try to read 100 pages a day in whatever I'm reading so, that's what helps me get through the books so easily. The secret is honestly just putting your phone down, picking up a book, and giving it your full attention!"
If there's anyone who knows where to find a good read, it's Kici. So, we chatted with her to learn her top book recommends to gift to our girlfriends this holiday season. Check them out below:
*This list is specially curated by the xoNecole team and some links are affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an affiliate link, xoNecole might earn a small commission.
"This book is based on the wrongful imprisonment of a young Black man and how it affects both him and his new wife. From the moment I started reading it, I knew that it was going to be a good book. After reading it, I experienced the worst book hangover! I couldn't stop thinking about this book simply because things like this happen in our community every day. If I just got married, would I be willing to hold my man down in prison knowing that he was innocent? Would I be able to allow all of the things I worked towards remain on pause while I try my best to live my life? It was ridiculously good. I would recommend both reading it and gifting it to a friend so that you can discuss it!"
Scott Olson/Getty Images
"If you didn't buy your close friend Becoming for Christmas, are they really your friend? I LOVE Michelle Obama. Her ability to 'go high when others go low' is something that I've always strived to do in life. Though I knew that she was already a BB from her time in the White House, this book gave me an inside view of her life outside of the White House. I experienced a lot of emotions but mostly pride that I got to experience the First Black First Lady in my lifetime."
"Growing up, my parents didn't teach me about finance and how to properly manage my money. This was partly because they themselves were ignorant and not in a good space financially. So naturally when I graduated college, I opened lines of credit and found myself in debt trying to balance student loans, credit card payments, and the cost of living. Though I've been reading a lot of other books on financial literacy, I loved how relatable this book was. It was written by a millennial for millennials, so I would definitely gift it to a friend that wants to be more financially literate!"
"This is the self-help book of all self-help books. While I was reading this, I had a hundred notes in my phone of quotes that really stuck with me. This book is all about realizing and owning your self-worth. I was in a patch when I picked this book up and it was the best book I've ever read. Whenever my friends ask for recommendations, this is one of the first books I recommend because it's that good. Perfect for someone that needs a little reminder that they are a badass!"
"I have a slight obsession with Maya Angelou. She's always embodied grace and success to me. It wasn't until this year that I actually started reading her books and poetry. I fell in love with this story because it was similar to mine. It tackled things like rape, the idea of belonging, and self-acceptance. I believe that some books have the ability to bring healing and this was certainly one of them."
"I came across this book right after Beyonce's Lemonade album. Someone did a write up about books they felt the album was based off and so I had no idea what the book would be about. When I tell you that I opened the book and couldn't put it down, I am not lying. I started reading the book and literally stayed up to finish it. It was a memoir about a girl, Cupcake Brown. The book describes her descent into teenage prostitution and drug addiction. Although some of the stories seem unrealistic, she holds to her story being true. I would gift this to a friend that doesn't like to read because 9 times out of 10, they are not going to be able to put this book down."
"I was definitely at a point in my life recently where I felt like I had zero self-discipline. So, me being me, I decided to find a self-help book based on the idea of discipline. Make Your Bed was written by a former Marine and he shared stories about his experiences while tying them back to self-discipline. It's all about little things (such as making your bed every day) that can change your life. This book is perfect for a friend that has goals that they want to reach but can't seem to locate enough discipline to put the work in!"
For more book recommendations year-round, follow Kici's latest titles on Well Read and Fed Instagram here.
Featured image by Getty Images
Originally published on December 8, 2018
Whenever our forever First Lady Michelle Obama speaks, we listen…but if you're like me, then you pack a journal and take notes. This is exactly what I did recently when I attended Michelle Obama's "#IAmBecoming" tour in Atlanta.
I -- along with my mother and more than 20,000 people "dressed to the nines" -- pressed our way into the arena like we were on a mission to go see the Queen (which, for many of us, she basically is our Queen). The energy was electrifying from the time we arrived until the time she exited the stage and even as we departed and headed back to our designated cars. We were so excited just to get a picture next to her life-size posters and banners that were strategically placed throughout the arena.
Often times, we refer to or classify her marriage to President Barack Obama as "#RelationshipGoals" or "#BlackLove" – something that she is very much aware of. For many of us, they provide hope; an awe-inspiring example and vision of love for those who aspire to experience something like that. While Michelle is humbled and appreciative of the titles associated with her and Barack, she candidly acknowledged that love and marriage is hard work no matter who you are.
One thing we love most about Michelle is the fact that we see so much of ourselves in her because of her transparency and authenticity. And this occasion made it even that much more apparent especially when she shared - so eloquently and honestly - some gems and insights about love and marriage.
1.“You don’t have to aspire to just be the wind beneath someone’s wing…Prioritize yourself.”
It was evident from the beginning – as an adolescent, as a Princeton and Harvard graduate, as an attorney, and even as a First Lady - that Michelle Obama believed and was committed to her personal belief that, "it's up to me to establish and define my voice." She's more than Barack Obama's wife, more than a First Lady, more than a mother, more than a daughter…she is becoming the woman she was destined to be.
During the event, Michelle revealed that at a certain season in her life, she realized that she had made everyone else a priority except for herself. She went on to share how even though she struggled with it as a wife, a mother, and career woman, "Barack had no problem with making himself a priority." He did what he wanted to do.
She, like many of us as women, realized that she needed to do the same - focus on making herself, and her self-care, a priority. As she's mentioned before, "We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do list." Nevertheless, she became more committed to doing things that she enjoyed as well.
Like Michelle, we too must realize that our "happiness isn't predicated on our spouse making us happy." Instead, we find happiness in the simple pleasures of life and by doing what we love, instead of expecting others to do what we aren't willing to do for ourselves.
2.“When it comes to our partners, we aren’t just reviewing their stats, but their story and their soul.”
"Barack was different for me…He made me stop and think about things." Instead of merely going through life and checking off her list, Michelle was challenged to think deeper about why she was doing what she was doing versus just checking off a list of accomplishments.
Finding the love of your life is more than just what's on paper: where did they go to school, how much money do they make, what is their social status, etc. Nevertheless, it's more about what lies beneath the surface. It's the difference between love versus lust, and romance versus intimacy. It's knowing that the other person feeds our soul more than they drain us; they help us more than they hinder us; they treat us differently and better than those who came before them.
3.“Relationships have different seasons and different chapters.”
None of us will truly understand the peaks and valleys of being married to the President of the United States. However, anyone who has been in a relationship or has been married long enough knows that you will have ups and downs. Michelle reminded us that the "test of a marriage comes when you build things together."
So, whether we're building the relationship, bridging the two backgrounds, or building a family, we're going to have obstacles. At the end of the day, we have to be more committed to fighting for each other than against each other.
4.You can’t just “fix” someone.
It's no secret that Michelle has been open about her and Barack going to marriage counseling. During the tour, she openly shared how initially she "took Barack to counseling to fix him." Nonetheless, to her surprise, the counselor's attention soon shifted from Barack to Michelle…something she wasn't necessarily expecting. Hence, it was evident that their marriage issues weren't going to resolve if she, too, wasn't able to look within herself as well.
Obviously, we can't force anyone to change – including our spouses. Nevertheless, we can't become so obsessed with trying to better someone else that we miss the opportunity to better ourselves. Both spouses have to be willing and committed to doing the "self-work."
5.“You can’t expect your spouse to do for you what you know they won’t do.”
When Michelle described their marriage counseling, she also admitted: "I wanted him (Barack) to do for me what he wasn't going to do." The reality, however, was that Barack was doing what she already knew he would do.
So often, we expect people to do or be something different from who we already know them to be. Part of learning to truly love someone else is learning to love them for who they truly are. Real love allows you to be your real self.
6.“Don’t sit in isolation with your problems.”
Although Michelle was referring to younger couples as well as young mothers, this tip applies to so many areas and challenges of our lives including: love, relationships, mental health, illnesses, and simply living life as a black woman.
Whether you're a woman and a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a sister…Michelle reminded us that "we are not alone…that's why it's important to surround yourself with wisdom. We owe it to our young people to be better." No more acting like we have a perfect life, and allowing others to believe that what they're going through is uncommon. Often times, just knowing that we're not alone in our journey, and especially our struggles, can be quite comforting and can often lead us on a path towards healing.
As Michelle said, we have to "believe in the validity of who we are and have the courage to share our stories." It benefits no one when we act like we have the perfect marriage, the perfect career, or the perfect life. The more we're honest about our journey, the more we can help heal each other and encourage other women to do the same.
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Our forever FLOTUS recently published her memoir Becoming, following her from her childhood through the eight years she and our forever POTUS graced the White House.
Since its release, Becoming has managed to sell over a million copies in its first week and has broken the record for the longest #1 best-seller on Amazon since Fifty Shades of Grey. I just finished it and, baby, let me tell you, it was a game-changer for me. With my one-hour commute, I listened to it on Audible – she reads it herself and that only adds to the magic.
At 34, I have lived an entire life already, and not the life that I wanted to live. As it turns out, Michelle Obama could not only relate, but has been there herself.
Her courage in sharing her deepest fears and experiences makes the already down-to-earth woman even more personable and relatable. You feel more like you're listening to the story of a friend instead of one of the most powerful women in the United States. While she is aware of the gravity of her responsibility, she insists on remaining the Michelle Robinson she was growing up on the southside of Chicago, even as she slowly became the Michelle Obama that we all know and love.
I don't intend on doing a full report on the book, but wanted to share my takeaways, in the hopes that, if you haven't read the book, you now go get it in whatever version works for you, and you can perhaps feel motivated and inspired for the same reasons I do.
It is Beautifully Written.
I don't remember reading a memoir at any point in my life that has been written in the style of Becoming. In fact, I have avoided many biographies for that very reason. But at times, this book is almost poetic in its delivery with descriptions so vivid, I sometimes felt that I was there at that time in history with her. This adds to the beauty of the work itself – as Michelle describes striving for excellence, her work is written in such a way that you have no choice but to elevate to her level and not the other way around. You will feel like a better person for reading this book.
She Understands the Power of the Tribe.
While we know it takes a village to raise a child, we also know that it takes a tribe to raise and support a woman. Over the course of the book, several times she invokes the names of her soul sisters, identifying women from her lifetime who have been a part of her tribe. From women who were working mothers like her who needed support during her time with Barack before he even went into politics, to women she became close to on the campaign trail and while in the White House. She truly celebrates and honors those women and drops life lessons about how vital a tribe is to the psyche and soul of a woman, supporting and loving each other and cheering each other on. To have that validated by Michelle truly makes this point hit home.
She Upholds Family First.
Michelle Obama at Princeton in 1984
Michelle Obama started as Michelle Robinson in a family of four that had little in terms of possessions but a lot in terms of love and life lessons. She and her brother Craig both grew up to be very successful and accomplished individuals – something she attributes almost solely to her mother and father's influence. She painfully details her father's lifelong battle with Multiple Sclerosis but with a pride that only a daughter could have for her father. He never gave up or used his circumstances as an excuse, and this was the running theme of her childhood.
As extraordinary as her children were, Michelle's mother was quick to say that her children were no better than the other children in their southside Chicago neighborhood (which she represents all throughout the book), all capable of the same type of success. It's a truth that Michelle has carried with her throughout her life in her work with the youth and the community.
She Doesn’t Like the Cheeto in Chief, Either.Michelle Obama "Becoming" book tour stop in San Jose
She keeps it all the way 100 with us in her book, and doesn't mince words when it comes to Trump. She doesn't like him, period. He's a disgrace for how he treated President Obama during his Presidency with the whole birth certificate issue and she hated everything that came out regarding his character. She spoke from the heart in the final days of his campaign, displaying her disgust with him and everything he stood for. She could hardly believe that he was voted into office and blames it solely on the Electoral College but she is quick to bounce back and remind us to have hope no matter the circumstance, or who is in office. She firmly stands by her belief that our country is greater than its worst moments and that we will get through this and come out stronger than before – just like any other tragic situation.
For me, the biggest lesson in the book was that we can become who we want to be at any time – it's never too late to do so. Michelle recounts how much she hated being an attorney, even though she was good at it and made a great salary. She ended up taking a pay cut for an opportunity that was more suited to her purpose in life – working with, and helping, other people in the community. She knew she wouldn't be able to do that in her position as an attorney. I can totally empathize, having to work in Corporate America to collect a check but wanting to eventually live my life doing what I love – writing full-time, among other things. Y'all pray for me.
Ultimately, Becoming isn't just her story.
Yes, it recounts the moments in her life, but she is quick to relate her story to any of our stories. She wants us to know that her story is no more remarkable than any of our stories, and that as we all become who we were meant to be, we do so through the lessons we learn from our experiences, education and every moment. Instead of wondering why something is happening to you, you have to ask what lesson can it teach you.
Michelle recounts all the lessons for our benefit, and makes the reader or, in my case, the listener, better for it...
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