Respect Our First Lady, Please!

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a piece for Essence, The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas disagrees with an artist's statement that there were "obvious reasons" for depicting Michelle Obama as a slave.

Mrs. Obama's face was super-imposed on "Portrait d'une negresse," a popular 19th century painting by French artist Marie-Guillemine. My reaction?

Let's just say it was a loud tirade of expletives that would be alarming to good Christians and inappropriate for the ears of minors.

Can you even imagine Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt or Barbara Bush being depicted in this way? My God, where is the basic respect for the First Lady of the United States? I know beyond any doubt that everyone ain't so cozy with Black folk in the White House, and they — a lot of non-Black people and some misguided ones — drink the Kool-Aid. And, let's not forget the people who have these Birth of A Nation-like worries about what Black people will do with money and power. After years of arguing with more militant friends that there's no c-o-n-spiracy to put Black folks on the back of the bus, or "back in chains" (I see you, Biden), I'm finally off the fence. Forgive me, I'm an optimist at heart and agree. These constant swipes at the First Lady aren't isolated incidents of ignorance or rouge racists. A lot of people are just plain stupid and they don't like Black people, or Black women or Black success, or Black love to boot. Yes, Public Enemy was right. There really is a fear of a Black planet.


Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at

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