michelle obama

tracy reese on race and fall 2014

race has been a major topic in the fashion industry since iman and naomi campbell blasted last season’s runway shows for having virtually no models of color.  the lack of diversity has prompted the women to start balance diversity, an organization aimed at boosting the number of black models.  while most runways are racially imbalanced, those behind the scenes suffer a similar fate — major fashion brands continue to be led almost exclusively by whites.

our darling tracy reese addressed this issue stating, “there’s so many things that need to change. there are a lot of designers of color, but I think there’s just a dearth of designers out front.”  she went on to say the industry needs more diversity not just in model selection, but in all facets, including public relations.  despite the limitation of being one of only a few black designers with wide acclaim, reese continues to give us some of the best ready-to-wear pieces known to man.  after seeing her fall 2014 show full of texture and bold prints, it’s obvious why she’s one of michelle obama’s favorite designers.

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here’s some news stories that made me laugh, excited and shed a tear over the past two weeks:

1. lupita nyong’o won the critic’s choice award for best supporting actress and her speech was per-fec-tion. i’ve watched it at least three times (and shamefully cried each time) because it was so heartfelt and sincere until i’m convinced we won the award together.  she’s making history, and it’s more inspiring than i can bear.

2. michelle obama turns 50 and is as amazing ever. i love her because despite being one of the most recognizable women in the world, she shops at target, is a very hands-on parent, can be seen around town at r&b concerts and restaurants, is always fierce and has a mean side-eye that cannot be touched. happy birthday flotus, i hope i’m as fabulous as you at 50!michelle-4-600x450

3.staci-michelle-yandle.jpg?w=447obama picks staci michelle yandle, an attorney in private practice, as the first black, lesbian federal judge.  she’ll hear federal cases in the southern district which covers illinois, indiana and wisconsin. future judge yandle has spoken about discrimination in the legal field, stating:

when i first started practicing, for a while i did not feel comfortable acknowledging my sexual orientation because i didn’t want it to cost me my job,” she said. “i wanted to be judged on my merit and my merit alone. many members of the LGBT community still have that fear. we are a traditional profession that is conservative in many ways.

i’m happy that president obama has made a commitment to increasing race, gender and sexual orientation diversity on the federal court.

4. boondocks1keep calm, season 4 of the boondocks airs on april 21st at 10:30 pm. the best cartoon since jem and the holograms (yes, i’m an 80s baby), the boondocks is pure genius and centers around the antics of a young revolutionary, huey freeman, his younger brother riley and their grandfather. the satire and allusions are spot on, and i suggest investing in the first three seasons for your viewing pleasure.  it’s effing hilarious.

5. erykah badu is a vision for givenchy’s 2014 spring campaign. i still feel like we’re being teased with only two images being released, but at least we have yet another reason to love ms. badu.givenchy-3-spring-summer-campaign-featuring-erykah-badu-3

 

the first lady reads, no i mean R E A D S

i feel closer to michelle obama than ever before.  you see, the first lady can read.  no, i mean she can READ.  Children Gather For Kid's Inaugural Concert

earlier this week flotus was giving a speech in a private home in washington, dc when she was heckled by a gay rights advocate.  the presence of hecklers during speeches is not a new concept for politicians, but flotus’s response took everyone by surprise.  when the heckler demanded a response from sister michelle about the president’s failure to sign an executive order for gay rights, flotus responded “one of the things i don’t do well is this.”  she went on to say “listen to me or you can take the mic, but i’m leaving. you all decide.  you have one choice.”  certain news reports claim that mrs. obama made very intense eye contact with the activist.  to quote young jeezy, “my president is black,” but it’s apparent that my first lady keeps it trill.

i appreciate michelle’s honesty.  for a brief moment, she allowed herself to be transparent.  despite the rehearsed speeches and politically correct commentary, she’s human and gave a very human response when faced with unwarranted rudeness.  i’m a champion for the first amendment and believe there’s a space for political agitation, but during a speech at a private fundraiser may not be the time or place.  even if it is, don’t expect to get your point across without a response from both the speaker and the audience.  in this case, the entire audience begged flotus to stay and someone near the activist told her that she needed to go.

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my president is (still) black

barack obama made history this week when he was re-elected as the president of the united states of america.  i could go on a political tirade and talk about my disdain for mainstream politics, america’s imperialist foreign policies, and the ongoing structural racism in this country, but i won’t.  i’ll take a moment to celebrate the iconography of a black family in the white house.  little black kids deserve to believe the glass ceiling can be shattered.

what a $1000 shirt looks like

if i owned a $1,000 shirt it would stop traffic.  i’d keep it in a special place in my home–not the closet, but in a unique display case in my living room for all visitors to see.  if i owned a $1000 shirt it would kill.  most importantly, it certainly would not have an unidentified animal swimming around the neck nor would it look like i scored it from the clearance rack at chino’s.

 meet ann romney.  owner of a $1,000 reed krakoff shirt and wife of mitt romney, the shoe-in for the republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election.

admittedly, i don’t know much about ann romney, aside from her political affiliation and obvious penchant for extravagantly-priced-ugly shirts, i could walk past her in the mall tomorrow and not recognize her face.  however, when people wear expensive ugly clothes, it tells us a lot about both them and society-at-large.  here’s what i’ve surmised:

1.) she’s pretty audacious.  after her husband’s comment that he doesn’t care about the very poor, i’m shocked ann romney so willingly flaunted her wealth on national tv.  do i really have to be reminded that not only am i too poor for the potential next president to care about, but his wife owns shirts that cost more than i can afford to pay for housing?

2.) she’s out of touch with reality.  price tags don’t positively correlate with style–expensive items are not inherently fly. in fact, they’re just expensive. ann romney should give michelle obama’s stylist a call.

3.) presidential candidates and their families are anchored members of the american patriciate.  politics are predominated by the wealthy and money spent on presidential elections could feed entire countries.  for example, barack obama spent $730 million to become president in 2008.  of course, this was not his personal stash, but realistically how many people have the resources to tap into $730 million?  wealth, or the lack thereof, is primarily cyclical–it takes money to make money, and in this case, it takes personal wealth to raise the millions of dollars necessary to become president of the united states of america.

as a black woman in america, i rarely feel connected with political leaders or their families.  folks in positions of power rarely look like me or have a background that’s remotely similar to mine.  ann romney’s $1,000 shirt just further isolated me from the american electoral process.  she nor her husband are in a position to represent my interests–especially not my fashion sense.