Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet and within hours, ABC canceled her show. Her show was leading in the ratings and making lots of money, and none of it mattered. And it’s all because of the Black Panther movie.
Although ABC made an announcement about Roseanne’s tweet being, “inconsistent with our values,” I don’t know how credible that is. Long before she tweeted about Valerie Jarrett being the offspring of an ape, she referred to Susan Rice an an ape in 2013. ABC knew who and what Roseanne Barr was when they green-lit her show. They simply decided that what they really valued was money.
Roseanne has made several statements in the past couple days saying, “I am not a racist,” and “I have never been a racist.” I don’t doubt that she believes that in her heart. She and many others have redefined racism in their own minds such that almost nothing qualifies. Even her apology was racist, she said she was only joking about Valerie Jarrett’s looks when calling her an ape. But back to Black Panther.
The Black Panther movie just dropped $1.3 Billion with a capital “B” in box office receipts in theaters worldwide, stepping on toes and snatching edges while doing so. With the sequel in the planning stages, ABC’s parent company, The Walt Disney Company, has to be concerned with its ability to renegotiate to bring back Director Ryan Coogler, and get it’s mostly black cast to return including Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong and Letitia Wright and to ignore Roseanne’s racism as they discuss their salaries and future relationships with the company. Black Panther may have made some of them stars, but their marketability will now travel. It might get a little harder to say, “Wakanda Forever” with the bitter taste of Roseanne’s tweets in their mouth.
I wish I could say it was the threat of an economic boycott of ABC. They probably had as little to fear from that as the NFL did over Colin Kaepernick. They do need the ability to get deals done and to at least appear to have some of those values they referred to. If Black America ever did wield its economic strength like a sledgehammer, it would be something to behold! Quite a few celebrities are building their brand on “not being politically correct” or “telling it like it is.” They would be well served to pay attention to what just happened to Roseanne Barr. Just because your President seems to be getting away with it on a regular basis, doesn’t mean that you can or that he won’t eventually get his.
In March of 2017, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama announced a joint book deal to release both their memoirs through Penguin Random House in a deal reportedly valued at $65 million. The former President might have done well to have a joint agreement including Michelle because there may be more interest in her story than the first black man to serve as President of the United States. The title and release date has now been declared for Michelle’s book, “Becoming,” to be released worldwide, published simultaneously in 24 languages, on November 13, 2018.
Her memoir will share her experiences from growing up on Chicago’s South Side, being a mother of two, and serving as America’s first black First Lady. Michelle said, “Writing ‘Becoming’ has been a deeply personal experience. It has allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life. In this book, I talk about my roots and how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others. I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be. I can’t wait to share my story.”
Michelle once famously said at the Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” During campaigns with her husband and her two terms as First Lady. Michelle faced vicious and racist attacks but instead of succumbing, she blossomed. She was also the first First Lady since Lady Bird Johnson, not to be chosen as the Gallup Poll, “Most Admired Woman.” Her millions of fans across the world were at least slightly offset by those who despised her presence and color in the White House.
That Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama has an amazing story to tell is a given. She likely will continue to “go high,” but here’s wishing she goes low once or twice in describing those who deserve it.
Amy Sherald unveiled her portrait of Michelle Obama for the Smithsonian collection, the only location outside of the White House featuring portraits of all former Presidents and First Ladies. In separate ceremonies, portraits of Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama were revealed at the Smithsonian. The portrait of Barack Obama was done by Kehinde Wiley.
President Obama told the artist, “Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and the intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman that I love.”
Michelle Obama commented, “Girls, and girls of color, will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution … And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls.”
Amy is a graduate of Clark-Atlanta University and was the Spelman College International Artist-In-Residence in Portobelo, Panama. In May 2018, she will present a solo exhibition at Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO.
“And when she was finished, Donald Trump didn’t tweet shit!”
Throughout the course of Day 1 of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. They booed Debbie Wasserman Shultz, they booed John Lewis, they booed Bernie Sanders, they even booed the prayer. After four days of laughing at the debacle of the Republican Convention the week before. Democrats saw the hope of presenting a positive alternative slipping away. Hillary had to be worried. The media was feeding the frenzy. Privilege was raising it’s ugly head as a loud portion of Bernie supporters were disgusted they didn’t get their way. I can picture Michelle Obama saying goodbye to her husband the President on her way to speak. Giving him a fist bump and saying, “I got this!”
The mood of the crowd had calmed a bit before she took the stage. Sarah Silverman, a leading Bernie backer pointed out they were “being ridiculous.” Cory Booker built positivity from there but the boo’s only truly ended, when Michelle Obama took the stage. I won’t comment much about her appearance. I’ll leave others to talk about her hair and her dress. I will mention the ease and grace she had while being in front of a previously raucous crowd. She owned the moment and she knew it, not in a boastful manner but she had an awareness that this was her time.
Many of the previous speakers had yelled into the microphone, trying to make themselves be heard. Mrs. Obama spoke softly yet powerfully. Heard not only because of the adequacy of the sound system but because the audience, both in the hall and across America. Hung on her every word.
She spoke about her children, and the care she and Barack took while raising them in a fishbowl. She reminded us they woke each day in “a house built by slaves.” But now her girl’s played with their dogs on the White House lawn. She reminded us that we don’t need to make America greater because it already is great. She spoke of the significance of the police AND the protesters.
She never mentioned the Republican nominee by name but decimated him all the same. She talked of the need for a President of the United States that can communicate in more than 140 characters. She spoke of promise and hope and love and big dreams. She demeaned his cynicism and negativity. She valued a history of public service vs a lifetime of chasing fame. And when she was finished, Donald Trump didn’t tweet shit! He tweeted about Booker, Warren, and Sanders. He tweeted about Clinton and Barack. When it came to Michelle Obama, he said nothing for she is the Queen!
Some are already saying it was the best political convention speech of all time. They say Elizabeth Warren captivated the hall but not necessarily the television audience. Others they say spoke more to television than their live audience. Michelle Obama spoke to each of our hearts, by sharing from hers.
When she was done. She waved and smiled and walked off as gracefully as she came. When they talk about the first day of this convention they’ll rightfully say it was Michelle Obama’s speech that turned the tide of the Convention, and possibly the election. She is simultaneously the reigning Queen of the Universe and the greatest First Lady of all time. There are those that attacked her from the moment she hit the political scene. But went they go low, she went high. She will have the grace to give the next First Lady (or man) the space to find their way. Don’t stay away too long, you’ll be missed. We love you Michelle!