The first lady made her debut at the Austin showcase of buzzworthy bands and technology, sitting with Grammy winners Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott, to talk about girls’ education and empowerment.
However, Mrs Obama broke into song when reflecting on seven years in the White House. She said “time is almost up”, before softly singing some of the Boyz II Men hit ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.’
Mrs Obama says she will most miss interacting with people — but says she has no presidential aspirations of her own. “No, no. Not going to do it,” she told the packed, convention-centre crowd in liberal Austin.
She mentioned her teenage daughters, Malia and Sasha, as two of the main reasons. “The daughters of a president. Just think about it. Come on, young people. Not so easy,” Mrs. Obama said. “They’ve handled it with grace and with poise, but enough is enough.”
Mrs Obama steered clear of hot-button topics. She instead promoted her ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, which encourages world leaders to provide education to the 62m girls globally who do not attend school.
She also says she will not disappear from public view, or slow down, once she leaves the White House next year.
“Sometimes, there’s much more you can do outside the White House, without the constraints, the lights and the cameras, and the partisanship,” Mrs Obama said.
“There’s a potential that my voice can be heard by many people, who can’t hear me now, because I’m Michelle Obama, the first lady. I want to be able to impact as many people as possible in an unbiased way”.”