On a stage full of men, the former president led with a joke that paid tribute to Michelle Obama.
Obama started his introduction humorously by tapping on his microphone, then saying to an audience at his My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Oakland, “Hello, everybody. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Michelle’s husband, Barack.”
Obama went on to introduce his co-panelist and Golden State Warriors player as “Ayesha’s husband” — a nod to Ayesha Curry, a television personality and cookbook author.
Though the introduction in the clip above comes off as a cute joke, it had a larger meaning.
During the event, Obama and Curry sat on a stage surrounded by two dozen young men of color and spoke at length about what it means to “be a man” and how toxic masculinity tends to “trap” men, specifically those of color, at a young age.
“If you’re confident about your strength, you don’t need to show me by putting somebody else down,” Obama said. “Show me by lifting somebody else up.”
He certainly did that from the moment he began speaking at the event, leading with a tribute to Michelle Obama, who besides being a best-selling author (and a former first lady, lawyer and Princeton and Harvard graduate) is extremely successful and influential in her own right.