Since the release of Michelle Obama’s Becoming in 2018, the book has sold almost 10 million copies in the U.S. and has become a topic of study at several universities across the country. As the former first lady continues to promote her memoir, she will soon speak with college students about their experiences in school and life amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Associated Press, Obama and grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi will participate in a livestream conversation with college kids from 22 schools in America on Nov. 9 (BET will air the event at a date to be determined). The announcement comes just days after it was revealed that the former first lady will have a guest starring role on the eighth—and final—season of black-ish.
During the conversation, Obama hopes to talk to students from schools such as Prince George’s Community College and Cal Poly Pomona, among others, about how they have fared during the pandemic.
“I can’t wait to hear from students across our country as they navigate their studies and lives during this unprecedented time,” Obama said in a statement Monday.
“As a first-generation college student myself, I remember my own struggles to manage classes and figure out my place on campus — and I can’t even imagine how much harder it is to do it during a pandemic, when so much feels like it’s constantly up in the air. I just hope they realize that moments of self-doubt and fear are completely natural, but if we embrace those moments — if we own our stories and use our voices — we can share the very best parts of ourselves with the world.”
Becoming is unique because most political memoirs don’t sell much in the months after it is first released, the AP reports. But Obama’s book—published by Crown—still sells upwards of 2,000 copies weekly, as well as being course material for multiple colleges throughout America.
The memoir has been studied in university courses such as Black women’s studies and civil rights. Julie Gallagher, an associate professor of history at Penn State Brandywine, told the AP that Obama’s perspective in Becoming is important, because she tells a different story on civil rights than others due to her Chicago roots, and commented on the author’s family dynamic.
“Here’s this woman who comes from a very strong, loving family. This is a story of love, determination, grit, community, of multiple generations working to strive for the American dream,” Gallagher said.