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A Devastating Beauty

She’s a Miss Beautiful Supreme
A girl that others wish that they could be
If there’s seven wonders of the world
Then I know she’s gotta be number one

She’s a girl that can’t be beat
Born and raised on ghetto streets
She’s a devastating beauty
A pretty girl with ebony eyes . . . .

“Ebony Eyes” by Stevie Wonder

I was eating dinner when Anderson Cooper revealed the First Lady’s official portrait on CNN. When I saw it, I gasped. It was a breathtakingly stunning portrait. Mrs. Obama, wearing a sleeveless black Michael Kors sheath dress and a double strand of pearls, was the picture of grace, elegance, and beauty. She is a First Lady like no other. I thought to myself, “She’s reppin’ us sisters so well.” Before a smile of appreciation could spread across my face, the criticisms rolled in courtesy of Cooper’s sidekick, Erica Hill.

Ms. Hill deigned to inform us that critics of Mrs. Obama deemed her exposure of her arms too informal for an official portrait and for her husband’s first address to Congress. It was too “cocktail-y,” if I recall her words correctly.

Indeed. If I had Mrs. Obama’s arms, I’d be wearing sleeveless sheath dresses, halter tops, you name it. In fact, if I had Mrs. Obama’s body, I’d have done the official portrait butt naked with a string of pearls, copped a pose like those guys in the Captain Morgan Rum commercials with one leg perched on an ottoman, and asked the photographer, “How ya like me now?”. This is why I will never be the First Lady.

That said, I was disappointed by the criticism. It seemed so, so petty. “Was that the best they could do?” I thought to myself about Mrs. Obama’s critics as I returned to my dinner.

Let the hateration begin, as the young folks say.

No matter what, Mrs. Obama can never, ever be like any of her predecessors because of the fact that she is the first African American First Lady. She will always have her share of detractors – those who don’t want to see an African American woman in the White House unless she’s cleaning it; those who don’t want Mrs. Obama to stray too far from the well-worn and worn-out path of other First Ladies. But she and President Obama didn’t get to the White House by following the tried-and-true formulae of their predecessors. There was no rule book for what they accomplished; they had to write their own rules and make their own way. They had to be true to themselves. This is why they were never off-message, unlike the McCain-Palin camp.

And, race aside, she’s nothing like our other First Ladies. She doesn’t look like her husband’s mother, she doesn’t look like Marian the Librarian, she doesn’t look like she just came up from the peanut farm, and she’s height and weight proportional. She’s probably the first First Lady since Jacqueline Kennedy who could wear a bikini and not make the viewing public cringe.

There is indeed much to hate about Mrs. Obama if you’re not happy with yourself. She’s smart and good-looking. Her kids are smart and good-looking. Her husband is smart, good-looking, and the President of the United States. If you’re looking to hate, there’s a lot there. By why bother?

I thought about the portrait again yesterday while I was washing dishes, and the lyrics from a Stevie Wonder song came to me and stuck in my head:

She’s a devastating beauty, a pretty girl with ebony eyes.

It’s almost as if this song from Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” was written just for Mrs. Obama and the many young girls with ebony eyes coming up behind her.

So, my hope for Mrs. Obama is that, in the words of a great social philosopher, Sheree from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” she “lets her haters be her motivators.” I hope that she continues to be who she is because she’s going to be criticized, fairly or unfairly, no matter what. She might as well be true to herself in the process.

I hope her kids remain smart and good-looking.

I hope her husband succeeds against all odds.

And, although it’s none of my business or yours, I hope she’s having the best mind-blowing, toe-curling sex the White House has ever seen. Better than Bill and Monica. Yeah, I said it: Better than Bill and Monica. Good enough to make the ghost of Lincoln blush and go on to Glory like he needs to.

Because the best revenge against your critics is living well, especially if you’re a devastating beauty, a pretty girl with ebony eyes . . . .


Makita said…
Love it!!! You speak the truth sister!
poetrystruth said…
Thank you thank you for this post. Isn't strange how the sista gets the boo hiss for showing her arms, but Jackie "O" did her official portrait in a armless dress too. Ain't that something?
Tasha said…
Nice blog you have here! I've added your link to my blogroll. :)
tookie said…
I followed a link to your blog and am very glad I did! You put down in print a lot of what I've been thinking. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for all the kind words and compliments! I knew I couldn't have been the only one who felt like I did about the criticisms of Mrs. Obama's portrait.

I'm thinking that, just as President Obama has "Hail to the Chief" played whenever he enters a room at a formal event, "Ebony Eyes" should be played whenever Mrs. Obama enters -- or maybe black women in the audience will just sing it spontaneously. Folks won't know what to make of us!
Audrey said…
Thank you so much for this beautifully written post that captures my thoughts exactly!

I couldn't have written it better! You are indeed a good, smart and phenomenal woman and together we will hold up Michelle Obama, because she is you and me...and we understand so well what they are intent on doing to her...
Let's not allow it!

God bless you sister!
VwsRMyLife said…
i say to each his own. no crime for being beautiful.

NATURALLY beautiful.

that woman has all that she needs and then some.

amazing thing how what she wears and how she shows her stuff gets folks all up in a tuff.

i think it is time to warm up the vocal chords and sing some songs in the key of OUR LIVES.

this is what is meant by "painting the white house black"

we have ways to express ourselves that set the culturally inept on their ears.

i have to pull some links to my blog but i love how you right T

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