As the first Black president makes his historic exit at stage right, the applause (as well as the boos) will be deafening. The writers, commentators, shock jocks, barber shop scholars and everyone else with a political opinion are already busy debating whether or not the Obama presidency was a stumbling block or a stepping stone for Black America. I will be honest; in a lot of ways, I’m torn on the subject. However, if I am “4K clear” on anything in this life, it’s how much I love, admire and respectful First Lady Michelle Obama. I know many Black men who quietly feel the same. And yes, I will probably miss her being in the White House more than I will miss her brilliant husband. No shade.
Let’s get something straight. My admiration for Mrs. Obama has nothing to do with her external beauty. You can calm down Brother Barack. As a matter of fact, if we could all be honest, she does not fit the stereotypical mold of what is considered beauty by European standards. As a Black First Lady she has been viciously attacked for not being ashamed of her African features. I’d get more “pi***d off” when they insulted her than when they insulted her husband. But she always bore it with grace, poise, elegance and unwavering commitment to social change. The only time you saw her sweat was when she was deep into one of her epic workouts. Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Eleanor Roosevelt be damned; nobody did it like Michelle Obama. Nobody!
She was an activist in the fight against Childhood Obesity. She was a staunch advocate of healthy eating. She encouraged America to exercise regularly; her fit frame setting the powerful example of how a woman over 50 can maintain a youthful figure the natural way. She encouraged the youth to “Reach Higher” in education beyond high school through vocational training, professional training programs or a four year degree. She wasn’t afraid to link up with Beyoncé and others for a good cause despite what her critics had to say about it. She straight up walked into the White House as “Michelle from the South Side of Chi-town” and it looks like she’s about the walk out just like she walked in. Jay-Z said it best on his epic album “The Blueprint”… “I’ll Neva Change!” Michelle didn’t.
Now, let’s get to the main message. I’ve logged in hours of conversation with Black men over the years about what’s so awe inspiring about Mrs. Obama. Again, it’s not just her external beauty or her “strong sista” energy. Her level of intelligence is the stuff of legends. It is no secret that most women are more intelligent than their significant others. So when your husband was smart enough to outsmart the smartest of the smart in America’s political arena, what does that say about the woman who can handle him even when the best minds on Capitol Hill can’t?
Michelle Obama could be considered a head of state in her own right. She could run for any office in the country and either win or be very competitive. But she is so low-key you could easily miss the greatness of her greatness. She is the greatest First Lady to ever grace 1600 Pennsylvania and I hope she leaves a flatiron, a few bobby pins, Black Barbie dolls and Maze feat. Frankie Beverly CDs behind for the next First Lady to clean up after her. If anybody painted the White House black, it was FLOTUS.
Lastly, but most importantly, the reason we as Black men love Michelle Obama so much is due to her unwavering support of her husband. Despite the fact that her intelligence rivals his, she doesn’t feel the need to become his rival. Unfortunately, we see this too often in relationships. Michelle went from Whitney Young Magnet School to Princeton University to Harvard Law School. She was speaking French in middle school, graduated as salutatorian of her high school class and excelled Barack in many respects academically. While he was smoking weed and reading Frantz Fanon, she was murdering the books. She went on to work at a prestigious law firm, became a power broker at Chicago City Hall and then a decorated dean at University of Chicago as well as other accomplishments. Imagine a woman with this kind of education, intelligence and extensive resumé meeting a scrawny half-White nerdy Negro who is saying he wants to use his law degree to become a community organizer? Many women would have looked at him and said “Negro please.” But Michelle saw in him what others missed.
When Michelle met Barack he wasn’t riding in Air Force One. He was probably catching the city bus. He was smart, but not set. He had potential, but it had not been realized. He had big ears and a cigarette habit. Her father may not have seen him as the ideal for his daughter, but it evidently didn’t matter. SHE BELIEVED! If this article could be summed up in two words they would be, “She Believed.” Her husband had a vision and she subordinated her individual aspirations to help him realize that vision and it paid off. Be clear, there is no Barack without Michelle. One of the 4’s in the historic “44” definitely belongs to her.
At the end of the day, every man wants a woman who will be by his side whether he’s worth “2 mil” or just enough to buy “2 meals.” Black men love Michelle Obama because she used her intelligence to compliment her man; not to compete with him. I don’t know what the future holds for her, but I’m sure it’s neon bright. Keep inspiring us Sister Michelle. You will always be FLOTUS in my book.
Now Mrs. Obama is not the only sister out here supporting her husband’s vision. And the flip side is that if we as men want that support, we must have a vision and be working towards it. A woman can’t support a man who is doing nothing. And we, as men, have to be found being just as supportive. If you have a good man that’s going somewhere, try and stick by him. Who knows? You might end up flat ironing your hair on Air Force One.