Sunday, November 1, 2009

Barack and Michelle: A Balm in the African Diaspora

The interview that Barack and Michelle granted on the subject of their marriage is hot press this weekend. Understandably. I mean who would care to hear about George and Laura's marriage, and it might be too painful for Hillary and Bill. They're due some slack, having paid some serious pain dues already. In her piece in Salon (, Michelle Obama Single Mom , Amy Benfer highlights the reality that this is the first time in nearly 13 years that Michelle and Barack have lived full-time under one roof. And it is apparent that this has been an issue, that Michelle, like many women whose husbands do live under the same roof, wanted him to be more present as a father (and I suspect as a husband too). How refreshing to have this transparency, and the acknowledgment that marriage is "hard work," from this couple who come as close to a Black fairy tale romance on the big screen as we've ever seen. A heady guy with a subtle bop to his stride,a man in his 40's who shoots hoops, throws a valentine smile, and conjures the grandest of visions, joined by a heady woman who speaks her mind, can swing her poise and beauty between J. Crew and Jason Wu, step up and out to support her man, and together,a couple who share a history of activism in the black community, the creation of two adorable daughters,and an affection that is palpable in their touch, the conversation between their eyes, and the teasing soft banter, it's big time magic! It's healing to witness them, sight and sound, to take in the message of what we can be, what we can give expression to in ourselves and in our relationships.

Benfer makes clear that this couple's appeal reaches wide, when she says "they make us ask, Dude, how can we get some of that?"


  1. When I see Barack and Michelle I think, they like each other. Wow, they actually like each other. And it's not for show or political gain. And their behavior shouldn't be so unusual except that they are our first couple. And the way they touch or smile at each other... it reminds us of how barren the "relatable emotions" department of the White House has been for a very long time. It's okay to love each other. What a nice message. Thandiwe, I really enjoyed your piece! It had great warmth, humanity and insight.

  2. What a beautifully written observation on this incredible couple. Thank you for your insight and your warmth. I look forward to reading more of your blogs!