Watch @JennaBushHager's full interview with @MichelleObama on her new Netflix show for kids, "Waffles + Mochi," her mental health struggles during the pandemic and last year's racial unrest, having her daughters back home, and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey. pic.twitter.com/fbL1jxKKAJ— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2021
In a CBS special that aired March 7, Markle, who is biracial, and Harry discussed how racism partly drove them from the United Kingdom. Markle said the royal family failed to protect her and did not provide her with support when she became suicidal.
In addition, Markle said someone in the royal family raised concerns with Harry about "how dark" their son Archie's skin tone would be.
On Today, Hager asked Obama what went through her mind as she watched Markle speak out.
"Public service, it's a bright, sharp, hot spotlight. Most people don't understand it, nor should they," Obama said.
"The thing that I always keep in mind is none of this is about us in public service; it's about the people we serve," she added. "I always try to push the light back out and focus it on the folks that we're actually here to serve."
When pressed further, Obama said she wasn't surprised by Markle discussing how she had experienced racism.,
"Race isn't a new construct in this world for people of color, so it wasn't a complete surprise to hear her feelings and to have them articulated," Obama said.
"I think the thing that I hope for, and the thing that I think about, is that his, first and foremost, is a family," she added. "I pray for forgiveness and healing for them so that they can use this as a teachable moment for us all."
Buckingham Palace said last week that the royal family plans to address Markle and Harry's concerns privately. Harry's brother, Prince William, defended the royal family Thursday, saying, "We're very much not a racist family."
Obama said Waffles + Mochi inspired a new Partnership for a Healthier America campaign that aims to raise awareness of food equity issues and provide more than one million meals to families in food insecure communities.
"This has been a hard year for millions," she said. "There are a lot of people who have lost work. There are people who are struggling to keep food on the table. There are families in this country today who are going hungry."
Waffles + Mochi premiered Tuesday on Netflix.