The recent speech delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention was a true testament to the tenacity and perseverance of black women.
After being dissected by the media and critics for the last four years as being an angry black woman, a militant black woman, and most recently reduced to a modern day slave, the minute Michelle Obama sashayed onto the stage the night of September 10. I automatically thought of the opening stanza to Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”:
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Michelle Obama did what black women do best. She rose to the occasion.
Even if your TV was on mute during Michelle Obama’s speech, her aura spoke volumes.
Confident, graceful, genuine, and the ultimate defining symbol of a black woman’s aura.
An aura that has historically been mistaken (or manipulated) to be sultry, seductive, promiscuous, aggressive, head-twirling, finger-snapping, loud-mouthed, less-of-a-woman.
Luckily these are nothing more than stereotypes. Yet the negative generalizations that surround black women seem to create a feeding frenzy for modern day reality TV and opens the wound of black women’s beauty being perceived as secondary or non-existent.
You know the same wound that prevents you from the mere thought of showing your natural hair (because it’s “nappy”), the same wound that caused little dark-skin girls (and grown women) to secretly wish they were a tone or two lighter, the same wound that identifies Beyonce as the black standard of beauty.
That wound. That ugly little wound, that can now seek refuge in the era of Michelle Obama.
Aside from her passionate words breathing life into the Democratic Convention and her pink heels to sidestep the “hata’s,” Michelle Obama managed to connect with every woman and conveyed that beyond skin-deep she’s every woman- a mom, a wife, a sister, a champion for health & fitness, and undeniably a “sista.”
Michelle Obama’s aura supersedes the recycled images of black women as hopeless, sex symbols, and desperados.
Positive images create positive perceptions… and perception shapes society’s view. Michelle Obama’s epic speech and well-perceived appearance goes further than political gander, it has forced light into a society cluttered by grim generalizations and unfavorable images of black women.
Long gone are the days where black women were perceived as Aunt Jemimas. Gone are the days where black women don’t fit the standard of beauty. In the age of Michelle Obama black women exemplify beauty.