How Michelle Obama Used Carpool Karaoke To Make A Difference

Greg E. Mathieson, Sr./REX/Shutterstock
Michelle Obama is far from the first First Lady to use pop culture to make a difference, but she is the best at it. Unlike Nancy Reagan on Diff’rent Strokes to promote Just Say No, her anti-drug initiative, or Laura Bush on Rachael Ray to bring attention to her heart disease awareness initiative, Obama has been a seamless presence. Besides, of course, being the First Lady, she would be more or less like any other celebrity on any other program.

A Tuesday story in Variety highlighted exactly how she's used her First Ladyship alongside pop culture to make a difference. The whole story is fascinating, but most interesting of all is her appearance on Carpool Karaoke.

"The Carpool Karaoke segment highlighted one of Obama’s key initiatives, Let Girls Learn, a worldwide plan of action to promote girls’ access to education. She and Corden also sang 'This Is for My Girls,' which songwriter Diane Warren wrote several years ago but was recorded as an anthem for the initiative, with Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, and others participating," Variety writes. "... According to Nielsen, digital sales of 'This Is for My Girls' climbed a whopping 1,562% in the week after the segment aired. And it generated almost 40 million views on YouTube."

Perhaps Obama is so good at engaging with pop culture because she's such a fan of it.

“I view myself as being the average woman,” she tells Variety. “While I am first lady, I wasn’t first lady my whole life. I’m a product of pop culture. I’m a consumer of pop culture, and I know what resonates with people. I know what they’ll get a chuckle out of and what they think is kind of silly. And whenever my team approaches me with ideas and concepts, we’re usually like, ‘Is this really funny? Are people going to understand it?’”

The rest of the piece is an exploration of the other ways that she's used her celebrity to promote her good causes. Although some (boring) people would consider it unseemly for the First Lady to, say, sing karaoke with Missy Elliot, it's more likely that Obama is the first truly 21st-century First Lady. While we probably won't see Bill Clinton in the car with Corden, it's likely that Obama is merely the first in our lifetimes to truly cannily harness the power her position affords her.

More from Pop Culture