President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Doesn't it feel good to say it? I gotta type it one more time--United States President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
I'm excited about our first African-American president. But like many sistas I'm thrilled about Michelle Obama. She looked stunning in her gold suit as she strolled down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Inaugural Parade. I melted when she and President Obama danced to Beyonce's rendition of "At Last" at the Neighborhood Ball. I loved how Barack caught Michelle off guard and said to the crowd, "How good looking is my wife?" That's what I'm talking about! Finally a black woman, who is not an entertainer, is upheld as beautiful and graceful throughout the world. She's not a singer or model. She's just Michelle, a sista from Chicago's South Side with an Ivy League education.
I think we're fascinated with how Barack caters to Michelle because we don't always see that type of affection toward black women in the home or the public sphere. Like many black children in America, I was rasied by a single mother. The single black mother has to be the man and woman of the house. If something breaks in the home she has to fix it. When it's time to eat, she cooks. And if there's a creepy noise in the middle of night, she has to make sure the family is safe. The black woman raises her daughters to be women and teaches her boys to men. When she's struggling with her roles at home and on the job or jobs--there's no man to tell her "baby it's go be all right." There's no man to run her bath water and hold her when she needs comfort. I don't care how "strong" of a black woman she may be, every woman wants to be treated like a lady. But it's important for black girls to see loving interaction between man and woman so she can know how a man should treat her. And it's critical for black boys to have an example of how to treat a woman. But many of us children of single mothers don't see our mothers being kissed, hugged and treated delicately by men. With 65 percent of black households headed by single parents that's too many sistas not getting the love they deserve. Then when you look at the media, these images are affixed to all black women. If all we see in media of a black momma is a cook, cleaner, hard worker, and maternal figure who can't get a man-- then when is she ever perceived as a lady? Sojourner Truth put it best, " Ain't I a woman?" That's why Michelle Obama is a breath of fresh air. She's a mother, leader, fashion icon, intelligent, loved, sexy black woman. I know sistas like her exist. But it's nice for the world to know women like her exist.
First photo from AP. Second photo from Vogue magazine. Third photo from AFP.