Upon the release of Michelle Obama’s novel The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, Angie Martinez hosted a cross-generational conversation between the former First Lady, Kelly Rowland, H.E.R., Winnie Harlow and Tina Knowles.
Throughout the fruitful conversation—which aired as a special on REVOLT—the illustrious women spoke on topics including vulnerability, setting boundaries, parenthood and marriage.
Martinez opened up the floor for the women to speak on how their celebrity status doesn’t always compensate for the vulnerabilities they feel as women. Adding to that theme, Obama spoke about how she gives herself more grace now than she did in her twenties. H.E.R. and Winnie, who are inching towards their thirties, chimed in on that conversation offering what they experience at their ages.
“Youth is wonderful but that’s really all you have is youth,” Obama started. “Life does get better every decade. You know, when I talk to young people who are agonizing about not knowing themselves, or feeling uncertain in their twenties and their thirties — just like give it time, you will settle into yourself.”
The 58-year-old added, “Be patient with yourself,” quoting from her book.
After the 25-year-old Grammy winner revealed that at one point she contemplated whether she liked the woman she was becoming. Obama encouraged the “Back of My Mind” singer to remember that her problems may feel bigger than what they really are.
Adding to the topic of feeling unsure about yourself and vulnerability, Harlow said, “I had to open up in a vulnerability-sense within myself to be like ‘You know what? Why am I closing off, it’s ok to receive love, it’s okay to be nervous and even be honest about.'”
She added, “When I started doing that and opening up about being like scared, nervous or vulnerable I think it helped me more in life.”
Moving into the sector of creating boundaries, The Light We Carry author shared why she’s had to explain to supporters that in certain moments, she doesn’t want autographs or pictures.
“One thing I had to learn to do especially when I was with my family — people would come up, show that love, they want a picture or an autograph and instead of being upset by it, I would just explain — look you can stand here, we can have a conversation all day, but the minute you pull out a phone or ask me to do a thing, you’ve turned it from a regular interaction into a thing,” she said.
She added, “When you explain that to people, they’re like “I get it.”
Kelly followed up with her own sentiments: “I’m usually nervous about ‘how the other person is gonna react to my boundaries,” she added. “I had to learn: that ain’t my business, how you react is not my business.”
The women continued their discussion with speaking about how being their “whole” selves plays into how their relationships with others play out.
“Marriage isn’t 50/50 ever,” Michelle shared. “There’s times I’m 70 and he’s 30.”
Michelle then humorously revealed that she “hated” Barack for 10 years as they were raising their kids and she had to sacrificed more of her time. “There were 10 years where I couldn’t stand my husband.,” she said. “And guess when it happened? When those kids were little. You can be great individually, but when you’re married — you’ve got your life, he’s got his life.”
Admitting that at one point Barack had the freedom to “go golfing” or “travel” while she was stuck at home with the kids, she expressed gratitude for “10 bad years within 30 good years.”
Further into the conversation, the ladies discussed staying graceful in hard situations and whether or not “when they go low, we go high” still holds up.
Watch the entire REVOLT cross-generational conversation above.