Forever FLOTUS, She's Just Like Us: Michelle Obama's Text Exchange With Her Mama is Relatable as Hell

Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez walk onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez walk onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

My mama (aka Mama Cheeks, aka the Dalai Mama) and I have an exceedingly close relationship. We communicate in some form every single day. I not only love her, I like her. As a person. She’s hilarious.


Ever since moving to Los Angeles from Chicago a little over three years ago (!!!), that 2,000-plus miles separation hasn’t been easy. She peeped my growing unhappiness and pushed me to pursue my dreams in a beautifully bittersweet moment.

As I’ve leveled up in my entertainment writing career, I’ve gotten busier. And not fake busy, either. Real busy.

As such, sometimes I’m not always as available to immediately text her as I’d like. Also, keep in mind, I’m the youngest—the baby—so the anxiety behind the wait for reply is significant. My current position has afforded me higher responsibility, and with that, our text exchanges have been since colored with a heavy dose of trolling.

For instance: after one of the many times I missed one of her calls because I was covering an event, networking, at an important meeting, at a screening, or otherwise running around like a chicken with its head cut-off, one of our funniest text exchanges went a little something like this:

Me: I’m so sorry I missed your call, Mama!

Dalai Mama (I really have her saved as this moniker on my phone): It’s okay, I know you’re Hollywood now.

Me: LMAO! Ma!

DM: It’s okay. Soon, I’ll have to go through a secretary to get through you.

Me: OMG!

DM: Her name is Samantha.

Me: *falls out laughing*

DM: She calls me “Mom.”

The teasing is all love, of course. I mean, there is still a general guilt trip looping in my head, only exacerbated by that Black Mirror episode entitled, “Playtest.” If you saw it, you know why it’s absolutely terrifying to miss calls from your mama. This heightened guilt trip is no fault of my mama’s, since she likely has no idea what Black Mirror is.

But, allow me to digress. I mention this because Michelle Obama recently showed me that I can relate to the woman with one of the highest security details in the country. How? Because of text messages. Because of black mamas. It’s universal!

Recently, the forever first lady shared a text exchange with her mother, Marian Shields Robinson, following Obama’s surprise appearance at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. (Scroll through for giggles.)


Okay, the “yeah” at the end with no punctuation took me out! Plus, shoutout to her expert shade: “real stars.” I swear no one can shade you like your family. How do you humble the first lady with unlimited membership? You exclude her from “real stars.” And you have to be her mama to do it.


The part where Mama Robinson says she didn’t remember any report of Michelle attending the Grammys: Is that how you keep your secrets under wraps? Tell your parents, who’ll forget anyway? Folks with highly confidential statuses such as Michelle and Beyoncé, teach us your ways.

I’m pretty sure a bulk of us can pinpoint a text thread very similar to this, even if you have to substitute “Grammys” with “your Tweeter Twitter bird thing on the local news.” So relatable. Michelle’s mama is all of our mamas. All of our parents. Or grandparents. Or aunties and uncles. Or legal guardians.


Hey, mama (I know you’re reading this). I made it.


Whitney's Receipts

No one shades like a black mother to their children.

*4 years have past since I went natural*

Mom: Since you’ve gone natural, your edges have grown back. It looks nice.

Me: Huh?

Mom: your edges have grown back. They were looking tragic before, but your hair looks great now.