Ex-first lady greeted with screams and standing ovation at event to promote memoir
With homemade signs and spontaneous Mexican waves, it was an audience fit for the most famous musician. Speaking to a 15,000-strong audience of mostly women at the O2 Arena in London, the former first lady Michelle Obama called on those who were unhappy with the Trump White House to “roll up your sleeves”.
She was welcomed on stage at the event on Sunday night – part of an international book tour – with a standing ovation and screams. Asked by the US television host Stephen Colbert how she liked her reception, she said it gave her hope in difficult political times.
“I think it’s a testament to how much we all have in common around the world,” said Obama. “The fact that people are finding themselves in the story of this little girl, Michelle Robinson, on the south side of Chicago … is not a testament to me and my story, but it’s a reminder that we’re OK, folks. We’re going to be OK.”
Obama’s memoir, Becoming, tells the story of her journey from growing up in a working-class family in Chicago to living in the White House. It has sold more than 10m copies worldwide since it was published in November.
Asked for her views on the state of US politics, she said: “It’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and if we are not happy with the state of things then, in democracies, we have votes. We have to pay attention and we have to be engaged and we can’t take our rights and liberties for granted. Because if we don’t vote, somebody will.