No big surprise. Ebony Magazine has named Barack Obama as the “Person of the Year.”
If the election of the first African-American president does not stand out as a landmark event in the history of a magazine founded for African-American readers in 1942 and now reaching 12 million readers, it’s difficult to imagine what does.
“We won because the American people mobilized for change,” Obama says in the interview that he gave to Ebony on Nov. 13, his first interview following election. “It really was people at a grassroots level who carried our campaign financially, who carried it organizationally, and we don’t want that to dissipate.” (The Swamp)
While this is all peachy keen I have to wonder — if this had never happened, if Barack Obama had decided two years ago he liked just being a senator and wanted to stay one instead of running in 2008 — who would be Ebony’s big end of the year star? Was there another black person who came close to having Barack’s banner year? And if not, who came in sloppy seconds? Is there another politician, entertainer, mogul, athlete, scholar, media sensation or business person with a distinct whiff of blackness who could don this cover spot?
And don’t say either Will Smith or Oprah Winfrey. While those two are rolling in it, they really didn’t do anything remarkable in 2008, unless you count Oprah endorsing Obama and campaigning for him — which you can’t count in the world where Obamamania never existed.