This Ringtone of Michelle Obama Telling Men to ‘Be Better’ Is Worth a Ringtone Revival

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Photo: Alex Wong

When Michelle Obama sat down last week for a talk with Oprah Winfrey about women’s empowerment, the chat lasted for 45 minutes. The two covered plenty of ground, but it was the First Lady’s advice to young men that got people talking.

“Be better,” she told the audience. “Just be better.”

That sound advice is now available in ringtone format, thanks to one man who put FLOTUS’s words to an “Obamabeat” to create “Be Better: The Ringtone.”*

(*Featuring Oprah.)

The idea for the ringtone came about when Zak Griffler, a filmmaker based in New York City, was chatting with his long-distance friend. The two often talk about gender equality, and his friend (perhaps half-jokingly) said she wanted the First Lady’s words as a ringtone, Griffler told the Cut via email.

“Being a multimedia person who went to art school, I thought this is exactly the sort of thing that a best friend casually makes near midnight on a weekday,” he said.

And so, near the stroke of midnight on a weekday, Griffler spliced together the best bits from FLOTUS’s advice to men everywhere. Thus, the “Be Better” ringtone was born.

Highlights include “Do the dishes” and “Don’t just think going to work and think coming home makes you a man.”

It was easy mixing together the First Lady’s words, according to Griffler. “There’s a natural cadence to the FLOTUS’s speech that fits perfectly with a drum machine,” Griffler said.

The exchange between FLOTUS and Winfrey rounds out the 22-second clip. Each woman repeats the line “Be better,” with Winfrey serving as backup vocals.

“Isn’t it great that when you get a phone call you can have Michelle Obama tell anyone in a decent proximity to your phone that men can be better?” Grifflin said.

Given that FLOTUS can belt out a tune from Boyz II Men, we wouldn’t be surprised if she records her own version.

You can download the 22-second ringtone clip on Griffler’s website. It evens comes with its own cover art.