News One blogger Dr. Boyce Watkins advises the Obamas to stop performing, because they risk appearing like minstrels. They may be talented, but the first couple should focus on their leadership skills during this election year.

… It’s also made me wonder if it is more than coincidental that the first Black president and First Lady are singing and dancing more than any major political figures in the United States. Is it also a coincidence that the leading Black Republican, Herman Cain, also got his audience excited by singing for them as he ran for the presidency?

We must ask ourselves just how connected all this entertainment provided by leading Black politicians is because Black folks have been making White folks comfortable with song and dance for the last 400 years.


I am not one to say that President Obama doesn’t have the right to sing when he wants to.  I just encourage him to consider what I told my class full of white students when they asked me to break dance for them a second time:  I simply told them that “I am here to be a Finance Professor, not a professional dancer.”

I imagine that dancing for my students would have made me more popular. They would have given me higher teaching ratings. They might have gotten over their discomfort with learning from the first Black professor they’d ever seen in their lives, but ultimately, every time I chose to dance in front of those kids instead of educate them, I was becoming less of a scholar and more of a minstrel show. That’s why I chose to stop dancing.

Read Dr. Boyce Watkins' entire blog entry at News One.