Posted BY: Joel Gilbert

I attended Michelle Obama’s final book release event this week in Los Angeles at the sold-out YouTube Theater. Her celebrity interviewer was Oprah Winfrey. This evening was ostensibly produced to promote Michelle’s new book, The Light We Carry. In fact, it was just another “under the radar” 2024 presidential campaign event for Michelle.

I arrived two hours early and saw thousands of excited Michelle Obama fans already waiting in line to get in. The vibe was clearly that of a campaign rally. One hour until showtime, the crowd was let in and swarmed Michelle’s tour merchandise and book sales kiosks, forking out money for swag and books. Finally filtering into their seats with 15 minutes to showtime, the fans heard Michelle’s voice over the loudspeakers, “Please welcome America’s DJ, D-Nice!” D-Nice had a DJ set up on stage and played disco songs while whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The entire audience danced and sang along to the hits for the next 30 minutes. Michelle’s two primary target groups — women and minorities, often overlapping — dominated the audience.

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Finally, a video introduction was shown on the big screen, narrated by Michelle. The crowd oohed and aahed at photos of Michelle and Barack while she described her feel-good messages about her previous Becoming book tour. Michelle said it was interrupted by Covid, and she lamented the separation from her fans. Then, after the benevolent pretense, the video turned political. Michelle mentioned the George Floyd riots as “a long overdue reckoning with race in America.” In reference to the Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade, she claimed that “an erosion of our rights” has left us “shaken and angry, despondent and alone.” Finally, images of Michelle dancing and speaking on stages flashed as she introduced Oprah Winfrey.

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