October 31, 2012

Category: First Lady

The Wonder That Is Michelle Obama!

It’s Halloween and my mind couldn’t be further away from tricks and treats than it is right now. Yes, I’m stunned, transfixed even, by the images on my television of the devastation left in Sandy’s wake. And to be honest, right now there is probably only one thing that grips my heart harder than the images of the burnt smoldering ash that was once the thriving neighborhood of Breezy Point and that’s the fact that some folks, six days from today, are not going to vote for Barack Obama simply because he and his wife are Black. There is no bigger horror this frightful night than that to me. Having a President of the United States of America, who happens to be a Black man, also happens to mean a whole damn lot to me. Having the First Lady be an intelligent, successful, mother of two who also happens to be dark-chocolate-brown Black, means EVERYTHING to me and I’m just not trying to have another First Lady! Not now. I’m not ready. Probably more than President Barack Obama, I need Michelle as the First Lady for another four years. I’m just not ready to make that change and let go of what having her as FLOTUS means to me and other Black women and maybe even most women of color.

In terms of inspiration and young Black men, President Obama stands in a somewhat long line of cool brothers that includes Will Smith, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Colin Powell, and even Malcolm X (Jelani Cobb breaks this whole phenomenon down ever so brilliantly in his essay Barack X). The way in which Michelle Obama inspires—intellectually, stylistically, emotionally, phenomenally is not as readily seen amongst the dames as it is the gents. Of course there’s Oprah. There’s also Toni Morrison, Gabby Douglas, Angela Davis, Beyonce, Ursula Burns, Tyra, and Serena Williams. But as amazingly talented and as skilled and as iconic as these women are they do not penetrate the psychology of Black women as deeply or as radically as the FLOTUS. For all intent and purposes Michelle Obama is our Winnie Mandela. She is our Wonder Woman. Our very own down-to-earth, garden growing, brilliantly outspoken, history-making and supremely beautiful superhero.

In 2008 during the presidential campaign when the First Lady admitted, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” she received a great deal of flack from conservatives. But I understood her… was even proud that she was audacious enough to say it it. When you consider the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and both John and Robert Kennedy—all men who went against the grain of a country seemingly content with war, inequality, slavery, Jim Crow, and suffering, and then consider Obama’s (victorious) run for President of that same country that not too long ago could not and would not tolerate the very existence of a man like himself, then yes, pride, real deep-down-to-the-bone-pride is a valid, honest emotion for Michelle Obama to have felt for a first time that day.

And now, four years later, First Lady Obama undeniably bodied the first night of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte with a passionate speech that electrified the spirits of all watching. According to a recent Gallup poll, Michelle Obama has a 65% favorable rating (allegedly higher than her hubs). In spite of the jabs about her booty, the comments about her wearing shorts and the non-stop scrutiny of her “toned arms,” my FLOTUS decided she was not going to be content living in the groove of Blackness and femininity that the media, politicians and society had carved out for her. By creating her own space through her Let’s Move! initiative and through her successful push to reform public school lunch nutrition guidelines, Michelle Obama blocks low-flying bullets of sexism and racism with her gold wristlets, and lassoes haters with her intellect, ambition and courage. She’s a wonder because not only does Michelle Obama resist stereotypical notions of Black womanhood, but she also subverts conventional notions of what the role of the First Lady should be and also how the FLOTUS should look and behave.

Yes, Kanye West is sometimes seen as a problematic in which to view and validate Black manhood, but think about how much blurrier that lens is for young women that identify with superstar Nicki Minaj who calls herself Barbie, wears blond wigs, pokes her derriere out for attention and added (sexual) affect while rapping about silly hoes. When I see young Black girls scream, cry tears of joy and get freaked out at the sight of Michelle Obama jumping double-dutch I exhale and breathe a sigh of relief because I know that even if for only a moment, those girls probably forgot about Minaj’s “Beez In The Trap” and are instead consumed with thoughts of being in The White House. If the Barbs can have their Minaj for what is feeling like an eternity, then I have to do everything in my power to have my FLOTUS for at least the next four years. So scuse me while I make cold calls to Jacksonville, Florida instead of cut cold-faced Jack-o-Lanterns cuz I know the real cape crusading begins with each and every one of us and has very little to do with Halloween. Please vote next Tuesday!

(Illustration of First Lady Michelle Obama as Wonder Woman by J. Bone)

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6 Responses to “The Wonder That Is Michelle Obama!Comment RSS feed

  • Bilqis
    November 2nd, 2012 8:54 am

    Omg I LOVE this article because truth be told Michelle Obama is the reason I took interest in her husband way back when! I saw this statuesque, intelligent, well spoken unequivocally BLACK beautiful woman who said honest intelligent things! I’ve been a fan since then and she’s never disappointed me adding icing to cake by being a fashion icon with killer guns! I’m not ready to give up my FLOTUS yet either! We as a people NEED HER and all that she embodies!

  • Lori
    November 2nd, 2012 5:36 pm

    I absolutely love this article Nicole! Mrs. Obama is the epitome of class, brilliance and beauty. She makes us all proud!

  • LD
    November 4th, 2012 3:35 pm

    Since when is Michelle Obama a ‘dark chocolate brown black’. Have you ever seen a picture of the Obamas together? They’re almost the same colour, and I know you’d never describe Obama as a ‘dark chocolate brown’.


    I don’t know why some black people feel the need to make up the skin tones of people in order to make themselves feel a certain way about them.

  • LD
    November 5th, 2012 10:44 am

    Interesting that you deleted my previous comment which highlighted the colorist redefinition of Michelle Obama’s color in this article.

    What part of my comment offended you? Was it the picture which I posted and which just like every other image of the Obamas that you can find, completely proves my point?

    So this blog is all about censoring the truth whenever it contradicts convenient lies and myths.

    Don’t forget that Satan is the lord of lies. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

  • theHotness
    November 5th, 2012 1:06 pm
    Author's Reply

    Um LD what are you talking about?!? You are delusional on so many points. Firstly, your comment is right here! No one has deleted anything! Secondly, the Obamas are not the same complexion. But then I guess you think Denise Huxtable was the same complexion as her fictional Bill Cosby dad. Anyway please take your “Satan Talk” along with two chill pills and have a good day!

    • Thiia
      November 24th, 2012 10:11 am

      Thanks for sharing your thghtuos, Drum.Looking at the names of the people that President-Elect Obama is looking to choose for his cabinet and advisors, it seems to me that he is transcending the usual process of selecting party favorites (with an occasional token tossed in) and choosing the best in the field.Maybe I’m just feeling the euphoria that follows pouring time, energy and money into a 2 year contest, but I have to say that for the first time in a long time I have allowed myself to indulge in optimism about the future. Barack’s message of hope has ignited my marrow and am ready to follow this magnificent human being.