I woke up yesterday morning to more than 20 posts from women on Facebook raving about President Obama’s final address, but more specifically about the words he spoke to his wife. This direct address to the First lady lasted less than 2 minutes, but from the hour long speech it’s the moment we can’t stop talking about. I don’t know about anybody else, but for me that moment and its effect just proves that what we’ve been missing the most, as black women, is recognition and appreciation from our men.
Now I can’t lie, just about anything coming from President Obama’s mouth is mesmerizing. I’ll admit I love him, because he’s got that perfect mix of hood and professional that we all like. But there’s something deeper at work here. That moment when he tears up thanking her for her service to the country, their family and to him, validates the longing that black women have to be recognized; our value solidified. Sure, we don’t need men to tell us our worth, but as self-sacrificing as women can be, it feels good to know that it is appreciated. President Obama showed that to his wife in front of an entire country. #breathtaking
Black women bear the weight of the world. From literature and what I’ve witnessed being black, I’ve come to understand that the world dumps its problems on the black man and he dumps it right onto the shoulders of black women, be it his mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, or daughter. I used to think that was an awful misfortune unfairly laid upon us, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized it’s an underappreciated strength. Although it weighs on us emotionally, physically and mentally, since we’ve endured it as long as we can remember, it’s understood and treated as a given. We expect to deal with things we don’t want to and we expect to work tirelessly without acknowledgement. Because we can bear it, and willingly choose to when we stand behind black men, the most we’re looking for is someone who understands our value as a wife and partner; respect and recognition for the hard labor that goes into raising a family and supporting a man. Those 2 minutes signify the strength of the family. It represents living proof of what happens when black men support black women.
Men, too, celebrated this final speech in a way that was reminiscent of J. Cole’s ode to Uncle Phil. President Obama plays the role of father, uncle, brother to black men in the same way that generationally, Uncle Phil and Bill Cosby filled that void. He is cool without pandering and respected for his calm, collected nature. Together, Michelle and our President have fostered our community, providing the representation of a strong, enduring black family that can love and appreciate one another despite what society tells them is possible.
It is my only hope that this example can translate to reality. Our community is damaged in more ways than one from systematic oppression that has served to lead us where we are today-fatherless children with no religion or sense of self. It is my prayer that we take away from their example that strengthening the family is the first, most vital step in pulling our people up. The Obamas have shown us how black men and women should support and uplift each other and the possibilities that arise when we are on each other’s team.
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