Barack Obama Talks Sasha And Malia's Involvement In BLM Protests: 'They Were Very Much In Organizer Mode'
The former president said he is not only proud of his daughters, but also their generation.
November 29, 2020 at 9:37 am
As young people came together around the country to take part in the Black Lives Matter movement during the summer to protest against systemic racism, Sasha and Malia Obama were also marching with the demonstrators. Former president Barack Obama, who sat down for an interview with People to discuss his latest book, revealed the little-known fact about his daughters.
“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,” the author of A Promised Land told People. “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.”
Still, Malia and Sasha have been seeking advice from their parents in order to make sure they're making an impact with their efforts.
"I think a couple of times they asked for sort of very specific suggestions about what would be the best way to communicate X or what would be the most useful thing that, if we were mobilizing a whole bunch of friends, to have an impact, what should we be doing," Obama said. "But they didn't need to be encouraged."
Like the millions of demonstrators around the world who became outraged over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and dozens more Black people who died at the hands of police, the Obama daughters also felt obliged to help end the violence.
"Their attitude was — we've seen something wrong and we want to fix it, and we think we can fix it," the budding activists' father said. "And we understand that it's not gonna take just a day or a week or one march to fix it. But we're in it for the long haul."
Wearing their masks during the protests, the young women were able to participate in the movement without being overwhelmed by the people around them.
“They didn’t do it in a way where they were looking for limelight,” the former president said. “They were very much in organizer mode. I could not have been prouder of them.”
Obama said he doesn't expect his daughters to pursue careers in politics, but he expects both of them "to be active citizens."
"They're reflective of their generation in the sense they want to make a difference and they think about their careers in terms of: How do I have a positive impact? How do I make the world better," the 59-year-old said. "What particular paths they take in doing that, I think are going to change and vary between the two of them."
The Hawaii native said he is not only proud of his daughters, but also their generation.
"When I was coming out of college or you know even 20 years ago, I think people were much more focused on their finances and the perks of a job," Obama told People. "And these kids are really focused on — how can I do something that I find meaningful, that resonates with my values and my ideals? And that I think is an encouraging sign for the country."
In an interview with InStyle earlier this year, the 44th president said the women in his life have "badass" qualities.
"People know Michelle well enough to know how amazing she can be as a public speaker," he told InStyle. "They probably are less aware of what it’s like to work out with Michelle when she’s really in her groove. And sometimes that includes her boxing. You don’t want to get in the way when she’s working on a bag — including some kicks."
As for 19-year-old Sasha, she is known in the family as the person who "is completely confident about her own take."
"I write in the book about how we were trying to get her to taste caviar when we were visiting Russia," Obama said. "She was like, 'Mnn-nnh. No. Sorry. That looks slimy. It’s nasty. I’m not going to do it, even if I’ve got to give up dessert.'”
Malia, 22, is described as buoyant.
"She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation," the author said. "She’s never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places."