The White Media Sure Loves To Promote Black Woman Angst Don’t They?

If I have to read another tired article about how black women have such a hard time with:

a) Our hair
b) Our dating prospects
c) Our bodies


“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” the comedian Paul Mooney, sporting an Afro, says in the documentary “Good Hair,” which won a jury prize at the Sundance film festival and comes out in October. “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”

Le sigh. There is no political related ideology in wearing our hair with or without chemical processing. It’s a personal choice! This is why I am wary of having black men try to deconstruct issues that pertain specifically to black women. Or give dating advice when they themselves haven’t had successful relationships. I mean I don’t see any movies helmed by us about how their anatomy has been erroneously touted as a means of boosting their insecurities. It would be considered insulting, yet here we are having other people tell us what our “issues” are.

Ladies you shouldn’t fall for it. Despite some of the serious issues we discuss here and across the blogosphere these discussions initiated in outlets like the New York Times don’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. Considering how the majority of the staff – especially upper management is 99.99999% white and male – I have a hard time believing the our stories are of such interest. What has happened is a heightened combination of curiosity and contempt from numerous quarters since Michelle Obama became First Lady that serves as a catalyst for this.

Now one agenda is to do coverage that serves as the back-handed compliment and the white editors make certain to hire a writer with some black heritage to pen it. In other words to deflect any charges of bias they’ll say the (condescending or derogatory) tone and content was at the discretion of that writer. They were of course pulling the puppet strings. At any time they could find a writer who could produce a quality piece of substance that is equally compelling and informative.

Another agenda is to do these types of black people 101 stories where they do a superficial exploration of something that has been a bone of contention for many. Like our hair apparently. It’s either feast or famine apparently. They have gone from ignoring us completely or only reporting the worst offenders to having an axe to grind. When do these shrinking sources of legit media offer an exhaustive, inspiring or accurate portrayal? It’s a fluke but it does occur from time to time.

Not that I don’t welcome media coverage for things like the population of missing and exploited women and children. Or having our beauty touted in a favorable light. There’s just no balance. It can’t all be about our First Lady or some variation of ” Black Woman It Sucks To Be You”. There’s a fine line to be had in discussing obstacles and in evaluating stereotypes or exposing pathologies. How we respond is equally as important for we can do things that help elevate our image or chip away at recent progress.

We need to be wary and evaluate who wants to engage in these conversations and why. It is often not designed to be helpful in removing barriers but to reinforce them. Why are we letting other people dictate what should be our own agenda with a message we take responsibility for and protect?

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Michelle Obama in San Francisco Today

The FLOTUS is in California attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. More fodder for those that hate seeing the daughter of the survivors of slavery in the White House. Too bad! This is a live stream. If it doesn’t repeat I’ll look for it on Youtube later to switch it out. Enjoy!

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The Blackening of the Fashion Industry

So I hear American Vogue has had three Black women on their cover this year. One was Michelle Obama, one was Beyonce and the other was an actual model, Liya Kebede. Well….big whoop. Liya shared the cover with a bunch of white models (Jourdan Dunn is in the foldout), one’s the biggest singer in the business and the other is our FLOTUS. So I’m not exactly breaking out the Dom now that Anna Wintour decided to jump on the bandwagon after Vogue Italia had their infamous all-Black issue which made her look bad. The added irony showed that while the editorial spreads may have featured Black models the ad space sold to financially support the issue was 99.9% devoid of one.Black.model. 
I still remember Wintour’s rather apologetic Letter From the Editor way back in 1997 which seemed like the last time they featured a Black model on the cover with Kiara Kabukuru. It was the July issue, the leanest of all months to boot. Ms. Wintour was asking people to “forgive” her for daring to put a Black model of the cover – AS IF SHE DOESN’T HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THAT DECISION. I remember I felt compelled to write her a response with some variation of kiss my *ss because I didn’t need her to validate me. 
I used to subscribe faithfully but I had to rethink my support of magazines that weren’t catering to me specifically. On the other hand Essence was way too old fogey for me and I really wanted something young and hip. By the way if I haven’t made it clear I do actually like fashion. I was so happy when MODE and HONEY magazines were being published and equally crushed when they folded. 
By the way these fashion magazines had a continual snowflake fest of all white models for years after the decline of the Supermodel phase. I think it started with the grunge look and it stuck. Of course if you’ve heard about certain American designers whining about how Shelly O won’t wear their clothes then you may also have heard their blatant discrimination with their use of to Jim Crow-era “No Blacks Need Apply” stance. So just like so many newspapers that are in financial ruins I have zero sympathy. They’ve been guilty of hiring discrimination for years and karma is a *itch isn’t it?! Is it also too much to ask that they show some models of various sizes and not all skull and crossbones?
Now all the Black people that fell for the okey doke of chasing after hip-hop era bling had better take a second look at their designer purchases from companies that don’t want to be associated with them, let alone employ them and stop throwing away good money after bad practices. It’s just hilarious to me that Michelle doesn’t have to make any statements or say one word. We know what’s up. they know what’s up. Bethann Hardison has been fighting the industry for years for inclusion. I appreciate her efforts but inclusion is not equality. I also can’t help but notice how the Black Upper Crust has not done one thing to address this and they are the ones with the money and clout to pus against it, right? 
Having a Black First Lady has leveled the playing field. I’ve noticed the trickle down of hiring more Black models in catalogs like Spiegel but there’s quite a ways to go. In the meantime I’m cracking up. Some of these designers just don’t know what to do. It’s really quite simple but they’d rather play dumb. I hope they grab some cheese with their whine, get a clue and remedy the situation.
Here’s Oscar de la Renta eating crow and backpedaling from his criticism of Michelle Obama. In case he hasn’t figured it out she’d be criticized for wearing one of his 300K outfits in this economy. Nor is she required to please the fashionista crowd. So she was going to get flack no matter what she did. 

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Real-Life Dress-Up!

Be your own stylist. Oooh oooh me me! Have you ever wanted to be picked first for something really fun? Well the Star-Telegram has this cool interactive guide that let’s you pick gowns for Michelle Obama. It’s a little Photoshop on speed but what female hasn’t tried on clothes or played with dolls and enjoyed it! Now if you’re really creative with HTML you can insert yourself into the mix instead! Out of all the choices I’d pick the Reem Acra strapless gown in nude crepe with the jeweled strap. It’s so reminiscent of the pins and brooches that Michelle favors. The Carmen Mark Valvo is gorgeous as well but green is Oprah’s preferred color. These are from each designer’s Spring 2009 collections.
Reem Acra Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Marcio Madeira
Photo: Imaxtree

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What Will Our First Lady Wear to the Ball?

The design world is all aflutter over the coronation of its King & Queen & Princesses also known as Swearing In Ceremony. Then it’s on to the real showstopper – the Inaugural Ball. The ‘official’ one that most of us will be reading about the next day but lots of other people will be throwing ‘lesser’ parties as well. If there was ever a time to be in the know this would’ve been the moment to cash in your chips. When has there ever been so much interest?
By the way Lady O is going to be in D.C. for an entire week taping episodes of her show. Ticket info will be released next week. This is the time to not just to get your party on but I’d be networking like crazy and trying to secure employment because everyone who’s anyone will be there. 
Mr. O can easily get by in a tux (but I hope he mixes it up) and the dimple darlings will be certain to look cute. It’s Mrs. O who will be heavily scrutinized and skewered if she strays too far off the safe path like she did for Election Night. No worries though. She’ll look ravishing dahlings. 

Women’s Wear Daily discusses the designers who’ve submitted sketches for the Obama’s (and ours) consideration. Famous names like Rodarte, de la Renta and Reese are hoping to be the chosen one this go-around. Not to worry though – they’ve got at least 4 years and lots and lots of events to design for. I’m going to post a few below and you can go back to the site for the complete list. Now because Mrs. O likes to throw a few curve balls she might go with a newer designer like she did for the Barbara Walters’ Special when she chose Jason Wu.
Mirroring that sentiment:

“This isn’t a fashion decision to take lightly”, says Bridget Foley, executive editor of W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, recommending Obama try on many looks before making her final choice.

The dress will live in perpetuity and it will go into the Smithsonian,” Foley says.

“I’d like to see Michelle Obama take the elegant route — and push it,” she adds. “There are so many wonderful clothes out there but so often people in the public arena think they have to play it safe. I think she should really look around and try something long and curvy — with color. That would work.”

I’ve kinda fallen out of the high fashion loop in the past couple of years. I think living in San Francisco has been horrible for my sense of fashion because it’s either hippie or hoochie depending on which crowd you go for. The weather here has three steps: pre/during/post fog so I wear jeans and sensible shoes a lot. It’s more functional than frivolous. Trust me you don’t want to be in ‘car’ shoes trying to walk up a hill with a 60 degree incline or some cute frilly top when the temperature goes from 70 to 50 in a matter of hours. I still love accessories and bags though. 
When I was younger – and lived in New York City I don’t even think I owned a pair of jeans. I was like a living Jackson Pollack painting, mixing vintage with thrift shop, crazy shoes, different textures, hats and wackiness. I had to be completely original and with just the right amount of attitude it got me access to clubs and meeting all sorts of interesting people. It’s time for me to reclaim that and watching Michelle Obama get the white glove treatment is fun!
Designers by Order of Appearance:
de la Renta (just wanted to show something with Michelle and the weeMichelles)
DVF (this suit is fab-u-lous but not for the Ball I just had to add it though)
la Croix 

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Barack & Michelle Meet Barbara Post-Election Edition

Here’s the video from last night’s Barbara Walters Special. I am soooo glad it’s the Obamas going to the White House and not some of the other (cough) contenders. To just be able to listen to people speaking with a measure of intelligence without avarice is such a relief! I hope Oprah gets first dibs on a White House interview.  
A viable economic plan is priority #1. He clearly states he is not a Messiah. Now put the altar away and get back to work…..
Obama promises a focus on protecting Americans from terrorism. He displays an otherworldly calm and steely resolve about not focusing on the personal threats to his safety. He doesn’t want to be too insulated from the lives of the average person either. Let the man keep his Crackberry!

Michelle keeps Barack grounded. Love the sheath dress. She gets the last word! For all the hand-wringers: Michelle is happy, content and isn’t even thinking about you. Stop projecting your disappointment onto her.

Their children will be cared for and have chores. Children of the staff and neighbors will have a place in the White House. Safety, privacy and comfort is a must. The weeMichelles still believe in Santa Claus!

Barbara discusses their plans for the Inauguration. Thou shalt not clash with Oprah. Just in case somebody thinks Michelle was ‘toned’ down for the comfort of some people, she does interject a lot and is (drumroll) sassy! She’s not cooking Thanksgiving dinner either.  

No girly dogs for Barack! (If videos don’t load let me know).

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Barack & Michelle Come to Washington

Don’t they making a dashing pair?
Reuters/Joshua Roberts
It will take me at least a year before the idea of seeing Brown people who are in charge at the White House becomes old hat. It may be a symbolic gesture but it has still has merit for many. I am very curious about how Michelle Obama will utilize the role of First Lady after she and the wee Michelles settle in. I can’t wait to see the puppy!
So while Shrub and Ba-rock went off the get down to the nitty gritty, Mrs. Shrub gave Mrs. O a quick tour of the House. Did Laura show Michelle the secret trap door should she feel the need to escape from all the insanity? Will the WH be covered with graffiti or littered with empty beer bottles and corn chips when they move in? Will Michelle have to put out an ABP on the china? Time will only tell.
On a more serious note, I am feeling somewhat uneasy with some of the names being presented for Obama’s administration. They are left-overs from the Clinton administration and certainly not the only qualified people! Perhaps this is a pre-emptive strike at squashing those that could undermine him ala the adage: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I just hope some of the ineptitude and excess from the last Democratic administration doesn’t creep into this one. The one trait that Obama has is discipline so perhaps he will be reigning in any foolishness! Being President sure is fun, huh?

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Fun With Future First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama

I must confess my support of the husband came from my identification with the wife. So I understand why some women are so drawn to Sarah Palin. (I don’t understand the lack of critical thinking and reasons for that support but oh well). There was that kerfluffle over those that misquoted this brilliant woman and fierce mama bear but I understood exactly what she meant. She is the Enjoli woman personified. And so much more. She did not come from wealth. She will be able to grow and become a more seasoned leader as she travels the world. She is not unlike many other women (and specifically women of color), but we have not seen a woman like her on a national level under these particular circumstances. She is the product of a loving family and uses sound judgement. I want to be like her when I grow up! 
This is from the Larry King interview taped on October 8, 2008. She is so calm, so poised, so gracious I am in awe. Team Obama has their message on point as usual, but in light of the latest gutter tactics from Mr. Grumpy, Alaskan Barbie and even the Rodeo Queen it is a wonder to behold. We are in the final leg folks!!! Let’s keep our eyes on the prize! 
Watch her dodge being tripped up and baited by Larry. I could feel my brain cells multiplying and a sense of peace with every passing moment. Enjoy! 

Michelle Obama Rules!:

Larry tries to bait Michelle:

Obama is Supportive of Women:

Michelle dismisses the Bradley Effect and Larry should know better!:

Michelle Discusses her Sheros: