Last night’s speech delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama was a true testament to the tenacity and perseverance of black women.

After being dissected by the media and critics for the last four years: as being an angry black woman, a militant black woman, and most recently reduced to a modern day slave.

The minute Michelle Obama sashayed onto the stage last night. I automatically thought of the opening stanza to Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Michelle Obama did what black women do best. She rose to the occasion.

Even if your TV was on mute during Michelle Obama’s speech, her aura spoke volumes.

Confident, graceful, genuine, and the ultimate defining symbol of a black woman’s aura.

An aura that has historically been mistaken (or manipulated) to be sultry, seductive, promiscuous, aggressive, head-twirling, finger-snapping, loud-mouthed, less-of-a-woman.

Luckily these are nothing more than stereotypes. Yet the negative generalizations that surround black women seem to create a feeding frenzy for modern day reality TV and opens the wound of black women’s beauty being perceived as secondary or non-existent.

You know the same wound that prevents you from the mere thought of showing your natural hair (because it’s “nappy”), the same wound that caused little dark-skin girls (and grown women) to secretly wish they were a tone or two lighter, the same wound that identifies Beyonce as the black standard of beauty.

That wound. That ugly little wound, that can now seek refuge in the era of Michelle Obama.

Aside from her passionate words breathing life into the Democratic Convention and her pink heels to side-step the hata’s. Michelle Obama managed to connect with every woman and conveyed that beyond skin-deep she’s every woman- A mom, a wife, a sister, a champion for health & fitness, and undeniably a sista.

Michelle Obama’s aura supersedes the recycled images of black women as hopeless, sex symbols, and desperados.

Positive images create positive perceptions… and perception shapes society’s view. Michelle Obama’s epic speech and well-perceived appearance goes further than political gander, it has forced light into a society cluttered by grim generalizations and unfavorable images of black women.

Long gone are the days where black women were perceived as Aunt Jemimas. Gone are the days where black women don’t fit the standard of beauty. In the age of Michelle Obama black women exemplify beauty.

Is it just me or are you holding your head a little higher Clutchettes?

Krystal Glass is the creator and producer of a series of thought-provoking dialogues held in Washington, DC with the aim of strengthening the black community through open forum conversations and interactive workshops.

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  • A White Woman

    Great read! I see the twinkle in a black woman’s eye when they see Michelle Obama. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! It’s much like the twinkle white women and girls have when we see Chelsea Clinton! And there’s nothing wrong with that. The truth is I’m glad Michelle Obama exist for young black girls to look up to. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, Michelle Obama has managed to do what no other black woman has done. She is completely changing the perception of black women and I for one love it! Not just in America, but the world over!

    • African Mami

      “Michelle Obama has managed to do what no other black woman has done.”

      -eh, hold on! My mother makes me twinkle, Prof. Wangari Maathai [the late] still makes me twinkle. We are not lacking in women that make us twinkle. They are there. The mainstream media chooses not to highlight them. But make no mistake. They are there!!

    • A White Woman

      ALways up at arms ALways ready to defend. Which can be taken as “anger”. I Don’t think it’s anger. I believe it’s an innate defense mechanism, that some women need to channel it and cease it. Way to take my compliment out of context.

    • African Mami

      then please offer clarity. About anger, please! Far from that. I usually type in uppercase letters, and have quadruple exclamation points, AND I’ll tell you how offended I feel [if you care, we settle, if you don’t I stew, cook myself in anger ]. Next time we meet on the comment boards I’m cheery as ever!:)

    • LemonNLime

      @A White Woman – Lady, you need to check your tone. What makes you think she should fall head over heels over your backhanded compliment? Maybe you need work on your anger and defense mechanisms.

      African Mami is right, there are generation of black women who have been doing what Mrs. Obama is doing and better yet on their own merit rather than because they happen to marry the right person. Just because you and people like you don’t see it doesn’t mean its not there. I swear white people can be so dense.

    • African Mami

      @ LemonNLime,

      Thanks mama!! Thanks for being succinct.

  • HP

    I’m so grateful to have Michelle Obama as our first lady! Her aura is absolutely undeniable & it makes me so happy to know that the world has the opportunity to see such a woman in the spotlight.

  • LR

    LR

    I think you did a very good job on lifting up the “black woman”. I see other comments negatively talking on how much you focused on stereotypes but was your article not on black women in general and our aura? Which most definetly deals with how we are perceived. I think if you went into depth on another subject you would’ve lost me but you stuck to one objective and stuck to it well.

  • Marilyn

    Sorry, but Michelle Obama does not represent me. I’m a little offended at how this article speaks of her and positions her on a pedestal that I am expected to look up to. I’m also offended that the article positions her as the exception, the only few black women shown in the media that I can respect in a sea of stereotypes.

    Yes, Michelle is a beautiful woman and represents America well, but her image is still safe and does not challenge gender norms. She’s too squeaky clean and is too much of a goody-two shoes for me to ever find any authentic connection to her.

  • paul

    Marilyn

    Beautifully articulated post, thanks for showing me how to say what I wanted to say.

    Yes I totally agree, the Obama’s are the perfect choice if you wanna put a black face on corporate america and “traditional american values”

    Beyond that –

    nothing much to see here.

    It occurred to me that there may have been celebrations among some of our enslaved ancestors when someone from their ranks was promoted up from field “slave” to overseer.

    From their perspective that event might have looked like progress too, but with hindsight – we know better.

    What will future generations say about our generation’s devotion to today’s black overseers?

    I hope they’re thorough in their research and look for the opinions of those of us who don’t celebrate the “rise” of white people’s black overseers.

    If not, we will be very harshly judged and unlike our enslaved forbears, we won’t have the excuse that we were kept in ignorance.

    Get on the right side of history.