A Los Angeles 8-year-old caught the attention of Michelle Obama when she dressed up as the former first lady in younger days.
Ella-Lorraine Brown, an 8-year-old student in Los Angeles, was ecstatic for her costume for her school’s Cultural Heroes Day. Ella had always looked up to Michelle Obama and thought that the former first lady was the perfect historical figure for her presentation and costume. She was particularly excited about choosing Michelle as the subject of her research because she is from the same Alma mater as her mother.
She based her costume on a photograph of a much younger Michelle Obama during her college days at Princeton University. The 8-year-old was dressed in a denim outfit, braids, and accessories nearly identical to the former first lady’s. She even wore a pretend Princeton school badge pinned to her jacket, according to Today.
Ella’s parents, Eugene and Karlyn Johnson Brown, have always been sure to teach their daughter about influential African-American figures in history, in hopes that they will inspire her. They believe in the value of representation, and even named Ella after two influential black figures, Ella Fitzgerald and Lorraine Hansberry, author of Raisin in the Sun. Karlyn Johnson Brown wants her daughter to grow up being aware of the many courageous people throughout history who fought hard for equality for all.
She hopes that in learning about these brave individuals who look similar to her, Ella will grow up knowing she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
“We also don’t hide her from some of the challenges that black women have had to face,” Karlyn said. “We keep it age appropriate, of course, but we don’t shy away from telling her how Bessie Coleman died or how she had to go to France to be trained as a pilot because no one would train her here. We talked at length about the ways Ruby Bridges was insulted and called names by other members of the town and school.”
Karlyn posted side-by-side pictures of Ella’s costume along with a picture of young Michelle Obama on Facebook. The post was shared many times throughout social media, making its rounds on Twitter. It even caught the attention of the former first lady herself, who retweeted the post. Karlyn hopes that other parents will take the time to introduce their children to influential historical figures, whether it be through books, movies, or plays.
“Michelle is a power house in her own right. Celebrating strong women and role models, here,” she wrote.
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