In a recent Newsweek cover article by Allison Samuels, she said the following about Michelle Obama:
“As my brunch friends and I continued talking about Michelle, our conversation wandered into one area we seldom discuss, even among our families and closest confidantes. Michelle is not only African-American, but brown. Real brown. In an era when beauty is often defined on television, in magazines and in movies as fair or white skin, long straight hair and keen features, Michelle looks nothing like the supermodels who rule the catwalks or the porcelain-faced actresses who hawk must-have cosmetics. Yet now she’s going to grace the March cover of Vogue magazine–the ultimate affirmation of beauty.
Who and what is beautiful has long been a source of pain, anger and frustration in the African-American community. In too many cases, beauty for black women (and even black men) has meant fair skin, “good hair” and dainty facial features. Over the years, African-American icons like Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Halle Berry and Beyoncé–while beautiful and talented–haven’t exactly represented the diversity of complexions and features of most black women in this country.
That limited scope has had a profound effect on the self-esteem of many African-American women, including me. “When I see Michelle Obama on the cover of magazines and on TV shows, I think, Wow, look at her and her brown skin,” said Charisse Hollands, a 30-year-old mail carrier from Inglewood, Calif., with flawless ebony skin. “And I don’t mean any disrespect to my sisters who aren’t dark brown, but gee, it’s nice to see a brown girl get some attention and be called beautiful by the world. That just doesn’t happen a lot, and our little girls need to see that–my little girl needs to see it.”
Michelle Obama is truly a representation of all of us. She’s downhome and regular…she’s educated and sophisticated. She’s a mother and a wife, a lawyer and an orator. She’s just as comfortable in a suit as she is in some sweats. She’s beautiful, she’s brown, and she has a booty (can I get an amen?) I only have one thing to say…BLACK IS BACK!!!!! [Michael Shaw – Huffington Post]