For four decades Essence magazine has inspired and empowered Black women in a profound way. It is truly a time to celebrate because the magazine has showcased Black women in a very positive light.
Many doors have been opened. Today’s young Black women can look up to and be inspired by Opra Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Condoleezza Rice, Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, and many, many more. The successes of the aforementioned women represent hope that with hard work and determination you can attain your dreams.
In years past, you would never see a Black woman on the cover of Vogue or Elle (recently, Halle Berry graced the cover of Vogue.) Essence was the Black woman’s go-to magazine. Essence magazine gave Black women encouragement, and each unique issue provided a positive outlet to believe that yes, we are beautiful, smart, and strong. This was no small feat, considering all that Blacks had to endure forty years ago. Yes things are much better, but there is still room for improvement.
Who could have imagined a Black woman would be living in the White House? The 40th anniversary collector’s edition is a true gem, because in it First Lady Michelle Obama has written a letter that reflects on how Essence has helped to shape her life and that of other Black women.
Tears flooded my face after reading her personal letter. What caught my attention is the first paragraph:
“I learned a long time ago that when you’ve had some success, it’s not enough to just sit back and enjoy it. You’ve got to reach back and pull someone else up too.”
In my opinion, First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal letter should be used as a blueprint to inspire young Black women to action. It can be used to let the young know that they are indeed good enough to accomplish their heart’s desires and that they should never settle for second best.
I also like the White House Leadership and Mentoring Initiative Fist Lady Michelle Obama started. I am very impressed with her vision to help young people see their full potential.
In her letter she mentioned that we have come far in 40 years, but we still have much untapped potential. As a Haitian-American woman, I am moved with a renewed determination to do whatever I can to make a difference. Even though I have dedicated the last twenty five years to educating youths in an urban district, I am sure I can find more ways to take it to the next level.
Thank you, First Lady Michelle Obama, for inspiring me! You are my hero!
Lastly, thank you Essence for creating a magazine that celebrated and empowered me. I look forward to the next 40 years!