Got an invite today to talk about the color issue within the black community on Chicago's Vocalo.org 89.5 FM. I'll be going on at 2 p.m. Central Standard Time. Check out the site to catch a live stream of me on the air with Robin Amer and company!
From The Los Angeles Times:
But down in Florida, Michelle Obama's speech apparently drove one as-yet-unidentified viewer a little crazy. Police in Pasco near Tampa Bay said a man exited his RV and began yelling and shooting his rifle into the air, apparently not celebrating. When police arrived and later the SWAT team, the man ducked back inside and held them at bay for six hours, despite tear gas canisters.
According to Sheriff spokesman Kevin Doll, when the man finally surrendered at dawn, he said the cause of his unhappiness was Michelle Obama's speech. He was taken for psychological evaluation.
Well, I've always thought racism was a mental illness ...
Here is the actual video for anyone who missed it. I wrote about it after Hillary's speech.
It's garish in so many ways and has been played several times on CNN already. This is frustrating for me on so many levels because I'm sick of the media playing up what boils down to a fringe group of hardcore Hillary dead-enders who really, at this point, hate Barack more than they actually love the issues they claim they are for.
I'm also tired of the constant stream of haterade from Barack supporters about Hillary supporters and the Clintons in general. Theses are politicians. You can't get emotionally invested in them. You can like them. You can admire them. You can support and vote for them, but once you get lost to the pique of a back and forth campaign you start poisoning your own rationality.
No matter how the press hyped it, the Democratic Primary was not nearly as negative as past Democratic Primaries. Almost every blow between the two candidates was off-kilter, coded or passive aggressive. This was mostly because both candidates were running in Democratic Primary where the field is full of potential land mines of groups you could offend. One gaffe and every gay, black, Latino, feminist, blue collar, Ivy League intellectual, single mother, Liberal, progressive, populist, union member will hate you. Clinton tried whatever she could to stop him, dancing on the edge of knife wanting to win, but not wanting to be called a racist and in the end losing on both fronts.
I'm tired of the conspiracy theories about the Clintons. I can agree that they can be arrogant and self-absorbed, but I have no desire to hear old, rehashed Republican talking points from the 1990s coming out of the mouths of Barack supporters. The same supporters who are fighting Republican talking points of Barack being a secret Muslim who studied at a Madrassa.
I guess I want both Hillary Clinton and her supporters to be gracious in their defeat and I want Barack Obama and his supporters to be humble in victory.
He won. She didn't. Can we call for a moratorium on reliving the Hillary Hate of the primaries now that it's all over?
And can this woman in the video please, catch a clue? I want to shake her violently and scream for her to be rational. Barack Obama isn't the Antichrist anymore than Hillary Clinton is the devil. Can't people see that the hardliners are cut from the same idealogical cloth? Care more about your life and your community. I am tired of such childishness.
For the blog AroundHarlem.com I wrote the post "Un-Break My Party," (set to run later today) which basically sums up my points here. Any lingering angst is just poisonous. It's time for everyone to kiss and make up.
I wonder if the speech was enough to bring about some calm reflection and rationality to the waring tribes of the Democratic Party. I hope people who love Barack can feel proud and solid in him being the nominee without still worrying, obsessing or foaming at the mouth over the Clintons. I hope people who love Hillary can feel proud of the job she did and do what she asked of them.
She came. She saw. She didn't disappoint.
But as wonderful and stirring as Hillary Clinton's speech was Tuesday night there was another image not wonderful and not stirring that was going on in the background.
If you watched the speech on CNN, after Clinton left the stage with a resounding call for her supporters to vote for Barack Obama, a reporter amongst the delegates stopped one quavery voiced black woman and asked her opinion on Clinton's speech.
What followed was a surreal scene of a weepy, recalcitrant delegate who said she felt no connection to Obama. Who said she felt that in watching Hillary she saw a president on the stage. Who said she was going to cast her vote for Hillary as a delegate and was not sure what she would do in the coming months. She swore that she would never vote for John McCain, but Obama had "two months" to bring her around.
This woman's statements were amazing in the since that they were amazingly dumb. I am empathetic with people who loved Clinton and were upset when she lost. I am patient and understanding as I know many black people would be just as upset if this were the other way around. But this was childish and disgusting. This was like a spoiled child refusing to go to bed, insisting on being given ice cream or to have another story read or to watch television.
Clinton, in her speech, asked a very pointed question of her supporters: Was this race about her or about the issues she represented?
It was consistently remarked in the press and by party members that the platforms Obama and Clinton were running on were near identical. They agreed on virtually ever policy decision. They voted the same on any number of issues.
To this weepy-eyed woman I ask: If your house is on fire do you care whether it is the county or the city fire department who comes to put it out?
Far too often voters get caught up in a cult of personality and lose their logic. I've seen it happen with both Obama and Clinton supporters. To see people go so blind for a candidate that they could not be reasoned with, that you could not appeal to their logic for they were lost in the jabs and spats of the race. Everything was personal because there was no policy to debate. All Obama and Clinton had to fight over was tone and personality, the mythical "experience" versus "judgment" debates that were largely meaningless. In the Democratic Primary you voted on who you liked, loved, admired or identified with because there was no meat to quarter.
Healthcare, housing, education, civil rights, the economy, the war, judges, justice, environment, women's rights, gay rights, worker's rights, unionization, international diplomacy, abortion rights, poverty and racism. If these were your concerns and you liked them handled with a populist and/or Liberal slant you only have one place to go and that's the Democratic Party. For better or for worse. It's like having a bad meal at Applebee's and going on to forsake all food. That one meal did you wrong, therefore all meals were wrong. You'd chose death over a slider from White Castle.
We aren't electing Gods. We're electing men and women. Hillary isn't a golden calf in a pantsuit. But if you, my weepy friend, for some sick reason, see Sen. Clinton as the sun and sky and worship her brilliance, if you find her to be mother, daughter and the holy spirit, aren't you committing a sin against Goddess Hillary if Goddess Hillary tells you to get over it and vote for the guy with the "D" after his name? Aren't you defying her will if you continue to be indolent to Goddess Hillary's desires to see Barack Obama as president of the United States?
Did you really ever follow her at all? Because she's going on to Obama's side and you, weepy delegate, you aren't following. You're acting like a child.
This should be about the issues, not pouting or personalities. A voter should never let their heart get in the way of the right mind.
Don't let the house burn down to spite the fireman.
Did anyone catch Solange Knowles on Letterman Monday night? I caught a glimpse of the performance on accident and was reminded, yet again, how much it sucks to be in the shadow of a sibling/spouse/parent who is bigger, badder and better than you at everything. An individual you will be compared to and will never be good enough to satisfy those who became enamored with your loved one/rival.
Solange is an average, but pretty performer who tries really, really hard and because of this I know that if she weren't the other daughter of Tina and Matthew Knowles, the parents who produced Beyonce, she would be doing anything but singing. She'd be in college. Or she'd be working at a bank or sewing in your weave. But she wouldn't be singing for her supper.
Not everyone can be Janet Jackson. Most are Tito Jackson. Not everyone is Eddie Murphy, but if Solange is lucky she can find her own niche like Charlie Murphy whose career was reborn once he started playing a thug life version of himself on the Chappelle Show and famously recounted tales of slap fights with Rick James.
Maybe Solange had slap fights with Rihanna or Jamie Lyn Spears or something. Maybe she got in a scuffle with Jennifer Freeman or Kyla Pratt or Meagan Good or Jurnee Smollette or [insert young blacktress here]. Maybe she's a better actress than her sister? Or designer? Or she could run for senate? But by singing and performing she is just ramming her head into a giant brick wall of Beyonce.
Every performance Solange gives will be like she just had to come on stage after her sister ripped it up dress in an homage to Josephine Baker while singing "Crazy In Love." It doesn't matter if Beyonce isn't anywhere in the room. That's what everyone is thinking.
She's a cute kid. It's a shame really. Especially the dancing. The dancing looked extra crazy. Some described it as "Suge Avery-esque." I would have gone with seizure-esque, but see, this, this is what happens when you're Beyonce's sister and you have no hips because you're skinny and you look ridiculous trying to dance like a wild woman like she does.
But shake that weave any ol' way. You'll figure it out on your own.
In all the excitement over Michelle's speech, dress and kids I forgot to add this tip I received from a reader, Sandra, more than a week ago on a story on the hairstylist responsible for Michelle's Denver 'do.
How did you start working with Michelle Obama?
It kind of happened on a whim, and I’ve been doing her hair now for a year. My agent out in New York booked me for her Ebony magazine shoot, and she liked it so much that she had her people book me. I actually just got a call today from her saying I’m booked with her for August a whole week — I’m going to do her hair in Denver.
Denver! Denver is important.
You know, I was very nervous with that particular booking. I was highly screened before I was even allowed to walk into her room — and I totally understand that. Whatever it took for me to be booked with her, she is a very normal person. She has two young children, and I think that her staying normal keeps them normal too. It’s just great working with her. She’s never picky; she never asks me for things I probably can’t do. She’s very understanding.
I couldn't get over how radiant she looked.
Played out to Stevie Wonder's ode to his daughter, "Isn't She Lovely," Michelle Obama was like a glistening emerald oasis in a sea of Democrat blue. She shined and was flawless and in her mother's tears, we celebrated. When her husband, the presidential candidate, saw her there was an awkwardness that was out of both longing and pride. He fumbled his words and confused what city he was in because he really had nothing to say. She left him just as speechless as the audience who celebrated and wept her every word.
It was perfection for millions of black people who watched amazed to see what they have longed to see.
A black woman, in full bloom, exalted by throws of people not for her singing or dancing or abilities to tell jokes and soothe feelings. She was a woman in full bloom exalted for who she is, for her intellect, for her poise, for what she represented in her father, her mother and herself. In one woman there was the representation of a hundred years of blood, sweat and tears.
People cried and sighed and wept at the beauty and marveled in her radiant glow. Relished Michelle Obama's moment for black girls everywhere. Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm and Fannie Lou Hammer would be proud.
Michelle Obama's feat was extraordinary as she described a life both poignant and ordinary.
Being black in America means that by being "ordinary" (re: mainstream), you are extraordinary. You are treated as if you are a unicorn. You cannot possibly be real. Black people don't live normal, happy lives. That doesn't fit the program.
The images we see of ourselves are so dark, so debasing, so violent and so ugly you feel deviant even if you are divine. Pro-athletes are featured over and over telling stories of mothers in jail or on drugs or on welfare and fathers who were phantoms, ghosts, haunts in their lives. This is what popular culture has told America and other blacks. It has told us that our "ordinary" is of the most desperate, disgusting things. Functional loving homes with black faces were the things of "Huxtable" fiction.
The black community has its share of problems, but Monday night was the first night in a long time where the story of the black woman, of a particular black woman was not about dysfunction, but love. It was of a story about a working class family who worked their way up through determination and the education of their children.
It was a normal, ordinary story that became extraordinary because of the stature and status of the individual telling it.
But while I reveled in this, seeing black self-actualization take place, there was something that nagged at me.
The fact that Michelle Obama had to give the "normal, ordinary" just like you speech.
The common insinuation from the Obamas critics is that they are not just like you. They are not one of us. They are unpatriotic. They are racists. They are up to something. And they don't know what this mythical something is, but they know it is not good. And the only way a black woman is supposed to get into the White House is with a dust mop and a frying pan. The black maid makes the bed, she doesn't sleep in it.
I fear that the more and more the Obamas and their supporters spend time "defining" their candidate they will fall into the trap the opposition has set. The Republicans and John McCain want to make this election about Obama, who is he is and why "true Americans" should be concerned. They want to do this because they have nothing, not one issue to run on. The economy? Bad. The president? At 28 percent. The war? People want it over. All they have are "we'll appoint conservative judges" and beware of the black guy.
When people demand, falsely, that they don't know who Barack and Michelle are, the Democrats should charge back with the fact that we know the Republicans all too well. The mistakes and crimes are plentiful and overripe, spoiled fruits to be plucked and lobbed directly into the faces of the opposition.
I loved what Michelle Obama did for black America. But I'm ready for the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign to make this race a referendum on what nearly eight years of Republican Party rule have done to America. They are the ones who should be on trial and explaining who they are and how they made the mistakes they made.
If you wonder what, who Michelle Obama is, she is ordinary and extraordinary. And she has nothing to explain.
Here's the daddy/daughter moment from last night, and as a bonus, Sasha having fun with a gavel from a video I forgot to post Monday.
Before I put my serious writer hat on I need to get this out of the way ... the thing we all want, no scratch that, NEED to see!
Pictures of Michelle shining like an emerald with her jewel-toned dressed, perfectly heart-melting, adorable daughters, and a proud Barack and Michelle almost crying when she saw how proud he was, and the "I love you, Daddy. Daddy, where are you?" ... and Craig.
I actually don't have that much to say about Craig Robinson, the La Femme Obama's brother. I hope he's a better basketball coach than a public speaker. Michelle was the only one making slam dunks Monday night.
Wrap it up, Craig! We want to see the big show!
Hubby watches with rapt attention in Kansas City, Mo.
First off, the dress? Loves it! Michelle always looks gorgeous in jewel tones. (Or any solid color. I don't think she has a bad color. The woman rocked ORANGE. That's just how we do.) I don't know who the designer is yet, but I bet it's Maria Pinto, her girl in Chicago. The dress is similar to the purple sheath and an orange dress she's worn previously that were also made by Pinto. I would have preferred a necklace over the beaded flower on her chest, but other than that I have few complaints. Over and over last night, myself, my dad, mother, pundits on TV, even on FOX News couldn't get over how gorgeous she looked. The best Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez on CNN could come up with was it was too "evening gown" like. Um ... seriously, Leslie.
Game. Set. Match. Michelle.
And the hair? It was like it was touched by the flat iron of God.
Now the makeup? Even more flawless. It photographed well and made her look youthful and gorgeous on TV. (She was magically forehead wrinkle free on TV.) She was radiant and rumor has it cosmetics maven Bobbi Brown did Michelle's makeup herself. I wouldn't be surprised. Michelle is the most coveted fashionistas' fantasy in politics right now.
And they'd take Barack too if they could get their hands on him. Speaking of Barack ...
This is the portion where I read Barack Obama's mind as he watches Michelle's speech.
"She's doing great. I'm so proud."
"Man, she looks beautiful."
"I NEEDS my WOMAN! Damn St. Louis ... I mean Kansas City! Just wait 'til I get to Denver."
And I'm going to stop reading his mind now, because I think the rest of those thoughts should be private. Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink
Um ... nothing to say here. Just beautiful. And all the "Michelle" signs. Can we vote Michelle O. for president? Should SHE have been vetted as a possible veep for Barack? I may be moving from Michelle fan to Michelle stan. Michelle O. in 2012!
Squeeeee! The girls! All dressed like jewels, just like mommy. And all their shoes are the same color. And man, Malia's tall for a 10-year-old (no surprise with super tall parents). And I swear, I can't look at Sasha and not see my baby sis, Baby Snob. You know she runs it at home, like all babies.
Also, it was a pretty brave thing to bring the girls out in front of such a huge audience, but they were just as natural and happy and sweet as they always are.
This was the point where I started crying. It wasn't Michelle's touching story of her life, but seeing this very real moment that could not be faked. While Michelle and Barack have become larger than life political figures, the girls make them "mommy" and "daddy" again. They're the evidence that they come from a loving household and are flesh and blood people.
Both girls were extremely happy to see their daddy, happily talking to him, saying they loved him and asking where he was. I could feel how much they all miss being together. And seeing Michelle tear up when she saw how proud Barack was and ... you just can't fake that. That was love, people. Love.
Blowing kisses. "Bye, Daddy!"
Again. Game. Set. Match. Team Obama wins.