Archive for the ‘Michelle Obama’ Category

O…O…O and Michelle

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Picked up the  recent issue of O magazine, you know the one with Oprah and Michelle Obama on the cover, and read it on the plane yesterday from Los Angeles. For the first time since the magazine was launched nine years ago, O, The Oprah Magazine features a cover model other than just Winfrey herself.

april 2009 cover

Lots of you have made it abundantly clear on the blog that you don’t read O magazine. I don’t understand why not. I try to read it whenever I can. It’s really pretty good. Great articles. Strong writing.  Striking photos. Okay, so I’m rarely interested in the magazine’s fashions. Okay, given Oprah’s much publicized battle with weight and with all the talk she does on her show about growing older and wiser you’d expect the magazine to feature more women models with beauty and glamour the average woman can duplicate as opposed to the kind that makes you just stare at, envy, and slam the magazine shut. If you can get past the willowy young women with plastic expressions that fill the magazine, you’re bound to find something to read that well worth the magazine’s $4.50 price.

I appreciate Winfrey’s commitment to feature some socially important topic in every issue. There’s always something in the magazine for the thinking, socially conscious woman. I like that.This month? Preserving the earth’s resources.  I don’t buy nearly as magazines every month as I once did. But I buy and read O because it’s the only magazine on the stands published by a black woman. That alone should make it worth our support. And, by the way, it doesn’t bother me a bit that Oprah’s face has been the only face on the cover for the past 9 years. She’s figured out a way to brand her name, her face, and the first letter of her name. What’s the problem with that? You go girl.  For all you haters out there, stop hating.

In the April issue Oprah Winfrey asks Michelle Obama about her new life in the White House.  If you’re interested in what Michelle Obama has to say, buy the magazine. It’s the First Lady’s first interview from the White House (a major coup for O magazine).

Here are some highlights of the interview:

* On her first weekend in the White House: Well, we still had family here, so it was almost like a wedding. A huge, very complicated wedding. The last visitors didn’t leave until Sunday. And then the first Monday was kind of weird. You know: Now we live here, and Barack is getting up and going to work, and it’s just us. This is our home now.

* On who the White House really belongs to: When you go out and come back, especially at night, with all the white lights on — it’s just beautiful. We feel privileged, and we feel a responsibility to make it feel like the people’s house. We have the good fortune of being able to sleep here, but this house belongs to America.

* On her marriage to Barack Obama: I don’t lose sight of the fact that he’s the president, but first and foremost he’s my husband, my friend, and the father of my children. That didn’t change with his hand on the Lincoln Bible. But it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the gravity of what he’s doing. The way I can honor that is by working by his side and adding value to what he’s doing in any way that I can. that’s my part in this.

Buy O, read it, and let me know what you think.

The Doors Of The Church Are Open (Wink. Wink)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Per tradition the President began his first day of office yesterday attending a National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (an Espiscopal Church) there in Washington, DC. For those of you who don’t know the National Cathedral has been for decades spiritual home to many of the nation’s presidents and governing elites. Beginning with Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, presidential inaugural prayer services have been held at the National Cathedral. The exception was President Bill Clinton, who chose Metropolitan AME Church, the historic black church in downtown Washington, for both of his inaugural prayer services.

There have been lots of angst-filled speculation in the media about what church the  Obamas will attend while they live in D.C. Poor things. They can’t even worship in private. Where they choose to go to church has political consequences. If they are smart, they’ll visit around. But with small children they will probably want to settle down in one place. Wow! Will living in the White House prevent the weeObama girls the experience of attending Sunday School and singing in the Children’s Choir? Probably.  What a decision to have to make.  Of course, I’m making a lot of assumptions here. I’m assuming that going to church is even a concern of theirs. I’ve got to stop assuming that Black folks go to church.

I watched parts of the Prayer Service on one of the cable news shows as I was packing to leave out of town. The cameras focused a lot on the Obamas, as one would expect. But the commentary afterward the service told it all. The commentators asked without asking. What do you think was going through the Obamas’ minds as they sat through such a beautiful service? Will they be able to deny all those years of worshiping in a black church? Will he be able to purge himself of black worship mannerisms? Are they black? Or are they…? Do they react in worship? Will all those years worshiping in a (militantly) jubilant worshiping church like Trinity UCC eventually come spilling out?

I’m a minister, but I’ll understand perfectly if the Obamas decide not to go to church anywhere. If they end up worshiping at Bedside Baptist with Rev. Pillow and Deacon Sheets  and Mother Mattress — I for one will understand.

Poor things. I don’t envy them a bit when it comes to this decision. I pray for the First Family’s spiritual strength and the girls’ spiritual formation over the next four to eight years.

Back to yesterday’s National Prayer Service: While the First Lady looked down a lot (perhaps to keep from showing her emotions and perhaps remembering better times spiritually) President Obama stared ahead and managed to get a few soulful head nods in as he sat listening to this stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace” sung by one of my favorite artists Wintley Phipps.

Mr. President- Inauguration Open Thread

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

It’s the day after.
I’m eager to hear what folks thought about the Inauguration ceremonies and celebrations. Everything.

The media coverage. The crowds. Obama’s inaugural speech. Rick Warren’s prayer. Aretha Franklin’s singing. Elizabeth Alexander’s poem. Joseph Lowery’s prayer. The little girls. The speeches. George & Laura Bush. The parade. The First Couple’s Dance. The Balls. Michelle and Barack’s outfits. The entertainment. Nothing is off limits.

What did you all think? (No long speeches, please!)

mr. president

Barack Hussein Obama
Th 44th President of the United States of America

“It is God who changes the times and the epochs;
God who removes kings and establishes kings;
God who gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those with understanding.
(Daniel 2:21)

Dear Michelle

Monday, January 12th, 2009

For those of you who see collecting memorabilia and books on Michelle Obama in your future, you might be interested to know that a collection of some of the speeches she gave while out stomping on the Presidential campaign for her husband is now available. Published back in November,  Michelle Obama: In Her Own Words, can be ordered at Amazon.

There’s also the non-official biography on the First Lady-Elect, Michelle: A Biography, written by Washington Post journalist Liza Mundy. Word is that the Obama campaign would not allow Mundy access to Michelle Obama to do a full-scale biography, but Mundy still managed to write a warm, sympathetic biography of Michelle Obama as a strong, self-assured woman who has played an influential role in her husband’s meteoric rise in politics.

While you’re at it, check out the piece National Public Radio did recently on the collection of letters written to Michelle Obama by black women in upstate New York.  The letters are meant to be words of wisdom and encouragement  for the First Lady Elect as she heads into her new role there at the White House. The letters have been collected under the book title: Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the First Lady.

Go Tell Michelle

Reading through the letters you see that black women everywhere are hoping  that the world might see them through a new lens because of Michelle Obama.  Some of us are not as optimistic. Buy, hey, hope springs eternal.  It’s obvious, however that identification with Michelle Obama runs deep for lots of African American women. Right down to the color of her skin. No, I mean literally.

Says one of the editors of the volume, Peggy Brooks-Bertram, there are black women who find inspiration in the fact that Michelle Obama does not fit the typical black female beauty mold: “This is particularly for women who are dark-skinned women who thought, ‘Oh my goodness’ when they first saw Michelle Obama. As one woman  told Brooks-Bertram: ‘I now believe I can bring my black babies into this world.’ ”

I’m speechless. Not because I had no idea. I had no idea someone would say such stuff out loud. That they find inspiration even in the skin tone of the First Lady-Elect. It says a lot about how much and how complex are black women’s hopes in the First Lady-Elect and the new Obama administration.