Thelma Golden

2 minute read
By Michelle Obama
Updated: | Originally published:

Every once in a while, my good friend Thelma Golden will meet someone who is shocked to learn this tiny, energetic, and dynamic woman is a paradigm-­shifting curator. Some would find this disheartening. But not Thelma. She sees it as her chance to show the world exactly what she can do. 

As one of the most influential people in art, Thelma knows the power of flipping an assumption on its head. Her exhibits at the Studio Museum in Harlem and, previously, the Whitney not only stop you in your tracks, they also show you so much more about the depth of the Black experience. Her steadfast dedication has given voice to a new generation of artists and curators who are ready to stir our souls too—folks who may have otherwise gone unnoticed had it not been for Thelma’s eye for talent and potential. She has broadened the world of art to better reflect the sum of us, rather than just a few. That’s power. And that’s why, while some folks might go on underestimating her, I’ll never be one of them.

Obama is a lawyer, author, and former First Lady of the United States

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