Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (In Obama’s White House)

New Obama Administration members Desiree Rogers and Valerie Jarrett with Linda Rice Johnson of Ebony Magazine (left-to-right) at a social event. Rogers and Jarrett will be part of the Obama White House team.

Beautiful and brilliant, I have to say I’ve been so far impressed with the black women who are popping up as potential parts of the administration. While I’m looking forward to which other black and other minority women and men who will be joining the them, here are the so far “fantastic four” of the Obama Administration.

Name: Desiree Rogers

New Job: White House Social Secretary

Super power: Party! Party! Party! Rogers is super social butterfly, big on the socialite scene in Chicago with her business connections and ability to have a good time

Obama Connection: Michelle Obama

From The Washington Post:

Rogers, 49, is a friend of Michelle and President-elect Barack Obama’s, and a leader in Chicago corporate and civic circles; her appointment signals that the first couple consider the job crucial to how they introduce themselves to the country and the globe. She was a major fundraiser for Obama.

Claim to fame: Rogers was most recently with Allstate Financial, where she was “creating a social network of clients and consumers.” She was also once president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Rogers, who studied at Wellesley College and later earned an MBA from Harvard, was once married to Chicagoan John Rogers, Ariel Capital Management chief and another close Obama friend and fundraiser.

Her first highly visible post was in state government. She managed the lottery for then-Gov. Jim Edgar in the ’90s, appearing on TV giving away pots of money.

Why she’s fabulous: According to Obama friend Valerie Jarrett — “This appointment sends a strong message that the Obamas want to use the White House strategically, to maximize its use in a way that is consistent with their philosophy — [to] open it to a broader range of people, ” said Valerie Jarrett, an Obama intimate and friend of Rogers’s who also will work in the White House. “Desirée is a heavy hitter — she comes with her own range of contacts from around the country. She’s close to Michelle and she knows everyone who will be working in the West Wing, so she will be able to create a synergy.”

Name: Valerie Jarrett

New Job: White House Senior Adviser

Super power: Tenacious Charm and Outward Brilliance. She also managed to smooth things over with Clinton supporters, bringing them under the fold after the contentious primary race and she works as Obama’s outreach to leaders within the black community

Obama Connection: She’s a close and personal friend/mentor of Michelle, then later Barack

From The New York Times:

“I can count on someone like Valerie to take my hand and say, You need to think about these three things,” Mrs. Obama said. “Like a mom, a big sister, I trust her implicitly.”

Claim to fame: “A protégée of Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Ms. Jarrett served as his planning commissioner, ran a real estate company, the Habitat Company — whose management of public housing projects has come under scrutiny with Ms. Jarrett’s rise — and sits on too many boards to count. She is an expert in urban affairs, particularly housing and transportation, in an administration expected to lavish more money and attention on cities than its predecessors.” (NYT)

Why she’s fabulous: While new to Washington she’s ready to hit the ground running in an effort to avoid the pratfalls that hindered hometown heroes like herself from making it in the Capitol.

She’s tiny, but mighty, mighty powerful, in spite of being “underestimated” due to her ethnicity, gender, height, pixie haircut, being the only black woman in the boardroom and the fact that she’s very “girlish” with a “singsong voice and suits that earned her a recent profile in Vogue.” (NYT)

Name: Susan Rice

Potential Role: Ambassador to the United Nations

Super power: Anti-Genocide Warrior (she has also penned the occasional column for Huffington Post)

From the International Herald Tribune:

The choice of Rice to represent the United States before the United Nations will make her one of the most visible faces of the Obama administration to the outside world aside from Clinton. It will also send to the world organization a prominent and forceful advocate of stronger action, including military force if necessary, to stop mass killings like those in the Darfur region of Sudan in recent years.

Obama Connection: She’s a warrior. She needed no such connections! Actually, she’s a former Clintonite who switched sides.

Claim to fame: She’s considered brilliant and tough.

Writes the International Herald Tribune:

If confirmed, Rice at 44 would be the second-youngest ambassador to the United Nations. A Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in international relations at Oxford University, she joined Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff in 1993 before rising to assistant secretary of state for African affairs at age 32. When Obama decided to run for president, she signed up as one of his top advisers, much to the consternation of the Clinton camp, which resented what it saw as a defection.

Some colleagues from her Clinton and Obama days said Rice can be blunt and unafraid to “mix it up,” as one put it, on behalf of issues she cares about. Rice herself acknowledges a certain impatience at times.

Admirers said she is a good listener and able to stand up to strong personalities, including foreign autocrats and militants in volatile regions of the world.

“Susan certainly is tough, and she’s tough in exactly the right way,” said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state and now president of the Brookings Institution, where Rice has worked in recent years. “She’s intellectually tough, she’s tough in her approach to how the policymaking process should work and she will be very effective as a diplomat.”

Why she’s fabulous: Goodness, she wants to stop genocide in Darfur in the Sudan. That makes her fabulous enough. Good luck to her on that.

She’s also not John Bolton, Bush’s former recess appointment as Ambassador to the UN. Bolton, like much of Bush and Co., didn’t believe in the purpose of the UN or giving it any power — real or perceived. Therefore they sent a man to work at frustrating and undermining the organization our country help found and headquarters. (He’s already bitching over Obama elevating the ambassadorship back to a cabinet level position as it was under President Bill Clinton.) Under the long list of reasons why the world hates us you will find John Bolton’s name. Rice is going to get a standing ovation just for not being him.

Name: Michelle Obama (You know she’s the leader of the Fantastic Four. How could I not put her here? She’s bigger than Oprah and Beyonce combined at this point.)

New Job: First Lady of the United States

Super power: She’s a nearly 6 foot tall Glamazon. She’s Wonder Woman. Seriously. She’s got that golden lasso lying around here somewhere.

Obama Connection: She’s Mrs. Obama

Claim to fame: She’s an Ivy League educated attorney with an accomplished career, two beautiful daughters and a devoted husband who just happens to be the “leader of the free world.”

Why she’s fabulous: She’s Michelle Obama. She wasn’t made fabulous. She was born that way.

PS. The Black Snob will be following the actions, careers, lives of almost any black, brown or minority person with a business card and a tic-tac in their mouths working for the Obama Administration. Everything from the serious to the supersillious to the “OMG! What are they WEARING!!!” Send your info to me now, now, now! Especially if you are a black, brown, Asian, Latino, female, male, warm-blooded person with a pulse — or a vampire, I don’t discriminate — who works in DC and likes to pass along “OMG! What are they WEARING!!!” news tips and pictures, among other things.

Send your tips n’ pics to The Black Snob at!

And look to future coverage of more men and women of the comi
ng Obama Administration. January 20, 2009, people! It’s going down! It’s the Freaknik of Hope, only everyone is sober and will keep their clothes on (because it’s freezing outside in DC in January). Yeah! Nerdy black people! We’re finally taking over! Bwaaa-haaa-haaa!

43 thoughts on “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (In Obama’s White House)

  1. I believe the unidentified woman in the picture with Ms. Jarrett is the Ebony publishing heiress.

  2. Good eye, anonymous 1:42 p.m.! I had no idea what the president of Ebony looked like. Alas, I am not a black Chicago socialite. I wish I was though! I want to wear big dresses and go to parties! 🙁

  3. Just like Obama is being held as a role model for our young black boys, teenagers, and men can we PLEASE get the word out on these four amazing black women to our young girls, teenagers, and women? Just like how everyone says that now boys don’t have to grow up wanting to be athletes or rappers, girls can grow up and look up to these women and realize they don’t have to be an actress or singer or, even worse, some video ho. Now that my “won’t someone think of the children!” Mrs. Lovejoy like comment is out of the way, ha! at freaknic of hope. And yay nerdy black people!

  4. I must say this post really warms my heart. It’s so beautiful to see these beautiful, successful brown faces making major moves in our world. As I read this post…I was hearing “I’m everrry woman…it’s all in meeee” playing softly in the background. Thanks for the info!

  5. Hi, I started a blog for Obama a few weeks ago and my friend recommended I look at yours. I am so crazy about your site — it’s fantastic, and everything I hope my blog could be one day. This is exactly what I wanted it to be like… and hopefully, I can do that. I’m actually a freelance journalist myself and I’m trying to perfect my blogging-ways. Do you have any suggestions? Oh, and I put this blog on my blogroll! I hope those that look at my site look at yours too, because it’s great!

  6. Snob, I was just about to congratulate you for the line “with a business card and a tic tac in their mouths” when I saw “The Freaknik of Hope”.YOU WRONG FOR THAT!I have lived through Freaknik since it was a simple gathering of a few hundred college students in an out of the way Atlanta park who wanted to have a good time, all the way through the Bill Campbell National Guard shut down the exits in the interstate Freaknik when three hundred thousand negroes, two hundred and fifty thousand of whom had never seen a college, descended on the ATL and literally showed their asses.YOU WRONG!YOU JUST WRONG FOR THAT!I’m calling my boy – we were both here in college in the ATL in the 80’s – he will drop the phone when I tell him!YOU WRONG, SNOB!!DON’T PUT THAT KINDA MOJO ON THE O-MAN – that shit is HARD to get off!!I’m still laughing at the thought of it!!!

  7. Glad folks like the post. There will be more. (Lots more!) Some of you have already started sending me names and they will be making an appearance on the blog shortly.Keep it coming!AMalwayswriting: Welcome to the blog and I’m glad you like it. I’m actually working on a redesign because as much as I love all the randomness going on, it’s a little cluttered. Good luck with your Obama blog! 🙂

  8. Brown Man: LOL! They say 4 million people might show up! I wanted to bring together the fun part and the tons of people part, but minus (hopefully) the booty butt nekkidness. LOL! Sorry!

  9. Desiree Rogers. I was LMAO when I heard about Rogers. Anyone wanting to say ANYTTHING about the first Black First Lady having a Black Social Secretary just had to STFU once they heard that she came with a Harvard MBA.BWA HA HA HA HA HAFollowed Rogers in the social columns for years. She married very well. Met Barack and Michelle through her husband, who is WEALTHY – born comfortable, got rich, then WEALTHY. John Rogers and Michelle’s brother Craig played together on the Princeton basketball team. Rogers is a true ‘ Our Kind of People’ person. As is Valerie Jarrett. Both their family histories is like a running commentary on successful Black folk and America. The thing that makes me chuckle to the nth degree. I just don’t think DC has seen this kind of Black woman before. They aren’t coming to Washington to get paid…they’ve already being paid…LOL

  10. Where do I start? Linda Rice could have been Secretary of State. Why not? And grumblings black folk inside the Beltway and related to the Newsweek article on the overwhelming presence and influence of white boys on the campaign and inner circle do give me pause. Desiree as a big leap forward? Come on…what’s a bourgie socialite with a Harvard MBA? A bourgie socialite! (I knew her ex- from Princeton). I know the sisters of the White House are golden and an inspiration. But can we look beneath the surface and utilize healthly–yet supportive–skepticism?

  11. Christopher: I’m all for healthy discussion on the women coming on board. I simply don’t know enough about them yet myself and I’m watching and waiting to see how this is all going to play out before I dump a few vats of judgment. But for those who do know, please share!

  12. I couldn’t be more excited about the amazing black women Barack is bringing on board. We are in demand and at the top. It’s a soft revolution. Also, rikyrah, thanks so much for the link to the inaugural dress sketches. They were mostly pretty great, but I think my faves are: red L’Huillier, the one shouldered blue dress and the silver/white de la Renta. I also love the blue Badgley Mischka suit and the Tracey Reese blurple trench, but they aren’t fit for the occasion. Thing is, it’s gonna be cold and she’s going to have to wear something warm and we can’t have some PETA activist throwing fake blood or flour on our girl should she decide to stay warm.

  13. i’m excited to see smart, talented black women doin their thing…great post snob…and i’ll check with my vampire friends to see if they have something to share in future posts…

  14. Hey there!You didn’t put Mona Sutphen up there… or Cassandra Butts!!Yes…gurl…we ARE doing it for ourselves!!{raised black glove}Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!LisaP.S. Since we’re snobby (smiles), I can mention that Valerie is 4th generation! Of course I had to mention that at my blog! *LOL*

  15. ..and ummmm…can I just mention as nicely as I can…that the pink dress is not quite working for Linda…it’s the wrong cut, the wrong style and she should never wear anything that does not have a sleeve length all the way to the elbow…even the earrings look “after 5″…Linda, Linda…what happened sweetie?

  16. @Christopher Chambers You are ignorant. I am happy Barack has “white boys” around him. I am sick and tired of AFRICAN_AMERICANS complaining about Barack not having a ALL DAMN BLACK STAFF. This is not a black movement idiot!!! Also, don’t hate on Desiree because she went to an IVY LEGUE school. I am happy to see intelligent minority woman instead of the dumb, ghetto, loud mouth, money hungry black women. Get used to it Chris cause woman are ALL IN the WHITE HOUSE!!!

  17. Damn, Anonymous…I’s sorry if I offended yew.FYI I didnt hate on Desiree b/c she went to an Ivy League school; I went to Princeton with her ex John Rodgers, Jr and he was my freshman yera mentor. I’m just being ignorant and hating on the fluff and pretentiousness surround that crew’s lifestyle and noblesse oblige ‘tude. I’m no Che Guevarra or Panther myself mind you. I’m as nasty and elitist as they come, but I honor no pretentions. And neither do I demand an “all black staff.” nevertheless, inside te Beltway, outside the messiah-worship, I and others have seen a wilful, premeditated predominace of Mr. Charlie within barack’s orbit. I think healthy skepticism rather than Kool-Aid guzzling (do you get the reference, Anonymous–to cults? Jim Jones? It’s a reference to your classy beverage of choice LOL) will keep Barack on a course that truly cements his place in destiny, despite the appt. of white insiders and okey-doke bureaucrats like Eric Holder.On the flipside, I again affirm that this an almost Rapture like for African American women on so many levels, and indeed such a nice depature from Real Housewives of ATL, Video Vixen books and Keyshia Coles’ mamma. But will Michelle, Susan Rice et al use a “bully pulpit” (Anonymous, that’s a reference to what Teddy Roosevelt said about the White House as a means to influence attitudes and culture…”bully” refers to “good”) to comment on the coarser, negative images and behavior of their sistas, and how white folks profit therefrom–or will the inside discussion just be on couture and shoes? Hopefully both, right? LOL

  18. Well it’s nice that perhaps THIS ROUND we sistas aren’t going to be left behind like we were during the Black Power Movement and the Women’s Movement. I like the fact that Obama is choosing the right people for the job REGARDLESS of their color. That’s how it SHOULD be. And let’s face it, inside the Beltway is still a white boys club. The door is cracked now, let’s keep our foot in it until it’s wide open for EVERYONE.

  19. All these folk coming out of Chicago and look at what a crap hole it is. All most boogie negros know how to do is copy off of yt folks. They will probably bring nothing to the table other than black folks living vicariously through them

  20. Snob- Priceless post! Glad to see you are back blogging. I am I the only one conflicted about this new spotlight on the previously invisible world of fabulous and intelligent black people in this country? It’s like the mainstream has suddenly noticed we can do more than act, sing, and ball. I’m wary. Chris- Your cynical elitism is as hilarious as it is grating. Keep doin what you do!Brown man- Seriously, have you ever had a better time than those early Freakniks back in those obscure neighborhood parks near the AU?! Blankets, grills, music, beautiful people and a cooler full of drinks!(sigh) Hey, maybe we exchanged fake pager numbers back before the DC Metro Club became personas non grata at the Fulton County Parks Department. Freaknik died the year of the club promoters when the party crashing bamas started roving the streets and fighting.I think I still have the flyers and the tee somewhere- but not the bike shorts!

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