SPOILER WARNING: Black Girls Are Magic.
For Cultural Heroes Day, 8-year-old Ella-Lorraine Brown decided to tap into our forever first lady Michelle Obama’s formative years as a freshman at Princeton University. And we’re all better for it.
“She was really in awe of the idea that with hard work you could become anything,” Ella-Lorraine’s mother Karlyn Johnson Brown told Makers. Karlyn is also a Princeton alum.
The decision to portray Obama as a college student was deliberate as well. Which Ella-Lorraine insisted upon.
“I loved it because by choosing to portray her hero as a college student, the focus was on Michelle’s accomplishments as an individual, not just as an attachment,” Karyln continued. “Ella-Lorraine has never known a time when Black women weren’t publicly honored and ‘Black girl magic’ wasn’t a highly celebrated thing. That’s awesome.”
Ella-Lorraine’s father, Eugene Brown, added, “We try to surround Ella-Lorraine with women who are go-getters like Michelle, women who are independent and smart, level-headed and loving. We make sure she knows about those who have gone before and have passed on.”
But you’re in for a rude awakening if you believe this is the only time Ella-Lorraine has served up melanin magic.
As she’s previously reintroduced trailblazers such as civil aviator Bessie Coleman and Ruby Bridges—who was the first black child to desegregate an elementary school in the South—to a new generation.
But for the Brown family, the goal is to raise their children to empower others.
“Ella-Lorraine (who’s named after the iconic Ella Fitzgerald) has been taught from an early age about the women for whom she’s named and how they used their voices,” says Brown. “She knows that folks came before her that allowed her to be where and who she is today, and we’ve encouraged her to not back away from embracing that history.”