Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Lost & Found: Be Giving


"Be Giving" by Kadir Nelson

A few links, images, and other online ephemera from our favorite sites this past week:

  • Have you seen Kadir Nelson’s remarkable illustrations for Coke’s Black History Month promotion? The image above highlights the theme, “Be Giving,” and I love the expression on the woman’s face, the detail in her cupped hands, and the nod to Aaron Douglas in the picture on her clothes.
  • Have you read Danielle Belton’s powerful essay, “On Little Black Girls, Beauty, and Barbie Dolls” at The Black Snob? Inspired by Malia and Sasha Obama, it is heartfelt and ends with a call to action. Read it along with Rebecca Walker’s thought-provoking piece on “The Making of Man” for Newsweek about President Obama’s “enlightened masculinity.”

And, an off-topic plea for help: My darling two-year-old daughter is afraid of monsters and has not slept through the night in weeks. Any suggestions?!?! We’ve tried night lights, talismans, and every ritual dance you can imagine. We’ve ignored the monsters, gotten angry with them, and playfully coaxed them out the front door.  As to where she learned about monsters as “scary” (as opposed to the friendly Sesame Street variety), I’m at a loss. When does this phase pass? These days the only monster in our house is me.

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    “For the Love of Crom!”: Obama & Comics Culture


    For days I’ve been mulling over what to say about Amazing Spider-Man #583, the well-publicized Marvel comic that features a chisel-jawed President Obama. But honestly, I’ve got nothing. It’s like writing about the time Mr. T appeared on Diff’rent Strokes. Or reflecting on the subtext of Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters. “I know it wouldn’t look good to be seen palling around with me,” Spidey says to Obama at one point. Zing!

    But who am I to pass judgment? I’ve collected at least six Obama t-shirts, four campaign buttons, a coloring book, a watch, a tote bag, two calendars, countless stickers, and a 6″ action figure of the man. (But no Beanie Babies, I promise!) I’m genuinely thrilled to see Obama come to life in the Marvel Universe. I’ve been enthusiastically following Rich Watson’s posts on how the president is represented in comics and Newsarama reports that ASM #583 is now in its third fourth printing.

    obama-supermanReading the story made me realize, however, that what I’ve always admired most about Barack Obama is not his perceived super-heroics, but the fact that an individual who is capable of achieving such greatness is, like me, just another comic book fan.

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    “But Now I Think I’m Able To Carry On…”

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    Video h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates (Also check out his excellent interview on Fresh Air).

    Also: “A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama,” Text of Opening Inaugural Prayer by Bishop Gene Robinson

    Take A Break, People!

    MLK, Jr. Taking a Well-Deserved Break

    MLK, Jr. Taking a Well-Deserved Break

    Plenty of well-meaning voices will tell us in the days to come that Barack Obama’s presidential victory, while historic and worthy of praise, means that the work of racial justice and equality has only just begun. To guard against complacency, the watchful and wounded will be full of meaningful warnings, counseling caution, and with the best of intentions, assure us that we have not yet reached the Promised Land.

    After all, where would we be without the freedom fighters who refused to cross one item off our nation’s “to do” list without adding another? The alarming rates of poverty, income and health disparities, hate crimes, illiteracy, and sexual discrimination – the forces of tyranny never stop, so why should we? It makes sense that our guardians would expose the naivete of proclaiming this a “Post-Racial America” – the odd new catchphrase that covers up more than it conveys. Fair enough.

    But there should also be time to take a step back and rejoice in the victories, small and large. Perhaps this moment is what King glimpsed on the mountaintop, perhaps not. We’ll never know if we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the view. So take a break, people!

    Celebrate the very real power of your voice and your vote to express our highest ideals. Get to know the gifted poet, Elizabeth Alexander, who will deliver a poem in honor of Obama’s presidential inauguration. (And give thanks for the unexpected miracles, like a quick-thinking pilot who can crash land a plane of over 150 people in the Hudson River without losing a single soul.)

    When I listen to the humbling voices of the elders and warriors still among us, one thing is clear: our Biggest Dreams can and do, in fact, come true. And if we don’t believe that, then what exactly have we been fighting for all this time? So take just a moment to relax, to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and to gather your strength…for tomorrow.

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    My Worst Week

    scarecrowThe hard drive on my Mac Book died and with it, a very precious document that I had been working on, and NO I didn’t have it backed up (*sigh*). My daughter’s favorite teacher resigned from her school. And my debt to sanity ratio is wildly out of balance so, sorry, Visa, ’cause I just don’t know when you’re going to get your money.

    What a crappy week. I can’t decide whether I feel most like Michael Jackson’s Scarecrow from The Wizyou can’t win. You can’t break even. And you can’t get out of the gaaaaame. Or, in my darkest moments of foot-stomping frustration, Mabel King’s Evilene, The Wicked Witch of the West. I want to growl at those creepy winged monkeys…don’t nobody bring me NO BAD NEWS!!!

    How ironic that this is the week Frieda and I committed to making “Gratitude Lists” to celebrate the holidays. Nevertheless, what began as a grand cosmic joke has, surprisingly, become an invigorating challenge. Writing this list forced me to look beyond the craptastic circumstances of my present moment and think on those things that bring lasting value.

    Kadir Nelson's illustration for "Please, Puppy, Please"

    Kadir Nelson's artwork for "Please, Puppy, Please"

    And so this year, in no particular order, I am grateful for…

    • my baby girl’s perfect, tiny brown toes
    • the way my husband laughs – loud and long – whenever he watches TV bloopers (particularly those involving dogs)
    • any book illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    • the opening chords of John Coltrane’s “Naima”
    • the daffodils that used to grow in my grandmother’s flower garden.
    • the simple genius of Marguerite Abouet’s graphic novel, Aya
    • corn on the cob (Seriously, can you believe this stuff grows naturally out of the ground?)
    • the vote I cast for Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
    • my first cup of coffee in the morning
    • singing along to HBO’s Flight of the Conchords in my car
    • the salty smell of the Chesapeake Bay at my “Home by the Sea”
    • the personal joy of writing this blog with my best pal
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    The Genius of America


    I can’t stop staring at this photo gallery of the US Presidents. There is something about seeing Obama’s face juxtaposed with these other figures, all white, all men. Some of these faces are so iconic – Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln – we meet them every day on our currency, our government seals and documents, our history books. What does it mean to see Obama here? And know that he is now forever a part of our collective American story? What I see is a new confidence in the ideals of this country, a cautious optimisim that goes deeper than the unconvincing platitudes with which we once soothed ourselves or the unrealized anthems we once repeated without thought.

    For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

    President-Elect Barack Obama

    Quite a few blogs and viral emails are circulating with quotes from Langston Hughes in honor of Obama’s tremendous victory. Hughes’s soaring poetics are a fitting way to commemorate the moment, but I think of James Baldwin, who was also quite eloquent in his fierce criticism and love for our nation.

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    Lost & Found: Token “Black” Edition

    A few links, videos, and other online ephemera from our favorite sites this past week:

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