The annual Grammys were awarded Jan. 26, celebrating music and audio accounts and allowing stars near and far to perform their craft, feel good about themselves, and bloviate about their own industry elite. Former First Lady Michelle Obama picked up a shiny idol for her voice recording of her best-selling book, Becoming, beating the Beastie Boys’ memoir and a slam spoken-word poet.
The former White House occupants must have a shelf designated in their Martha’s Vineyard mansion for awards and accolades – sure to be rolling in – as President Barack Obama has collected that same trophy twice.
Mrs. Obama is lauded for her buff arms, professional awards, and down-to-earth conversational style – heavily evident when she explained during the 2016 election cycle: “And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.” Although her seeing into the future is questionable at best.
Granted, being the first black First Lady of the United States had to be a daunting task, and whether you appreciate her husband’s politics and foreign diplomatic exploits or not, she performed well, attempted to defy the American scourge of obesity through school lunches, and wore little-known designers’ duds that raised eyebrows. Who can forget the canary yellow satin bedsheet paired with identical-shade thigh-high-stiletto hooker boots?
But does her rise to the arm of the 44th president and the unease she felt waking up “every morning in a house that was built by slaves” make her story better than that of Eric Alexandrakis?
Alexandrakis is a classically trained pianist who chronicled two decades of his life and his struggle with overcoming cancer – twice – in his voice recording for I.V. Catatonia. He showed up at the Grammys, brought family and friends, attended the meet-and-greet events, receptions, and the like, posing for photo after photo. He sat in the audience with the other nominees and graciously applauded when Michelle Obama’s name was called.
She wasn’t in attendance. Her award was “graciously” accepted on her behalf by the presenter. And in all transparency, Mrs. Obama has lived a seemingly charmed life thus far, so it begs the question, is it just that her throaty alto voice is pleasant?
Other notables who have taken home a Grammy include Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Presidents Bill Clinton, who also won twice in the Spoken Word category – who doesn’t love a good ol’ boy Southern drawl? – and Jimmy Carter, ditto. Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were nominated once each. Heck, even Hillary Clinton has a Grammy enshrined somewhere in the Chappaqua manse for her It Takes a Village audio.
The Amazon description of Becoming is telling: “With unerring honesty and lively wit, (Michelle Obama) describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory.”
I’m not seeing the award-winning life story. It must have been tough living with staff at your beck and call, lauded for the accomplishments that millions of other women have done with little-to-no fanfare – work, family, politics – and a friendly, fawning media on speed-dial.
But, congratulations, Mrs. Obama, on your Grammy Award.
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