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Semi-Nude Michelle Obama on Spanish Magazine Cover

Repost of the Week

By Naomi Extra

Article Reposted: “Spanish Magazine Courts Controversy with Michelle Obama Cover” in Yahoo News

The Scoop:

First Lady, Michelle Obama, is topless on the cover of a Spanish magazine. Yes, you read correctly. Topless. In the Yahoo News article, Sarah Weir writes: “Michelle Obama has graced magazine covers from Time to People to Vogue looking powerful, beautiful, and downright regal, but now a Spanish magazine is picturing her bare breasted, and as a slave.”  The article provides some context for what the artist might have been thinking along with some valuable insight. But for those of us who are privy to black women’s racial and sexual history in the United States, the image may be perceived as offensive.

In the groundbreaking book At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle McGuire, one of the chapters is entitled “A Black Woman’s Body Was Never Hers Alone.” The name of this chapter was taken from a painful lesson that Fannie Lou Hamer was taught by her mother and grandmother when she was a child in the Mississippi Delta. I was reminded of these haunting words when I saw this image of the first lady. Both McGuire and Weir bring to light the the lack of ownership that black women have and still encounter when it comes to their bodies. By attaching the first lady’s face to an anonymous semi-nude slave body, the artist creates a power dynamic through both the gaze and the what the slave body itself signifies. We could ask ourselves any number of questions related to this controversial work. Like, when’s the last time we saw one of our white first ladies depicted in this way? Did the artist get consent from the first lady before she attached  her face to a semi-nude body? How is Michelle Obama perceived globally? And perhaps, most importantly, what does she think of the magazine cover?

Check out the article link reposted above and let us know what you think.


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2 thoughts on “Semi-Nude Michelle Obama on Spanish Magazine Cover

  1. Richard Murray on said:

    I will answer your questions from my view.

    Like, when’s the last time we saw one of our white first ladies depicted in this way?
    Never in my mind and to be fair, the proper depiction wouldnt be any white woman enslaved but would be the same artist depiction of Elise Bonaparte. A woman whose brother through force of arms became the emperor at one point of all of western europe and because of that was an important woman , as a sibling. Like the portrait of a negress, much of the history of the work would not be known by most today nor would the purpose be to show a woman as strong but to show a showpiece.

    Did the artist get consent from the first lady before she attached her face to a semi-nude body?
    Great question, neither the article from the magazine or the article you link state anything revealing , except a no comment statement, which I find unsuitable

    How is Michelle Obama perceived globally?
    Like most Black women in societies under governments of humanity, negatively. The idea that being in the white house and being first lady maes people view Michelle Obama positively is a wishful hope. It must be honored by Blacks in the USA that outside the USA blacks are undermined even more and have a more ridiculed and unopportune position.
    If you consider the viewpoints on the ground, in socieites like Brazil, which tout racial balance and are extreme racists off camera, how can she be viewed positively. In Europe where home team fans throw banana’s at Black players playing for the home team, how can she be thought of positively.

    And perhaps, most importantly, what does she think of the magazine cover?
    I imagine we will never know until her husbands presidency is over. Perhaps she will write a book.
    I think a more important question is not what she thinks, but would a Black magazine have the courage to display her regally and contronting to white society?
    the absence of an over the top praise for a deep insult , is my question.

    In the lined article ,Mikki Taylor, former editor of Essence and author of Commander in Chic is quoted “It’s so clearly based on race and a backward way of thinking.” It isn’t backward it is opposing. Every viewpoint that stands against a viewpoint of another is simply that, an opposing view. Stating it as bacward only supports friction because the people that adhere to it see the view as in the present and valuable for the future.

    Once again, her words show a problem equal to the image. It isn’t a backward way of thinking it is theirs. People have to realize, Europe is a very racist place, not merely on phenotype but geographically. White People in Spain and Italy dont like each other if one is catalan and the other is castillian or basque. If one is neopolitan and the other is sicilian or turino.
    Bias is embedded there. I dont mean to use this as an excuse, but just like with Vogue Italy Black, people in the USA especially Black people have to see that these people live openly with bias.
    Oddly, the position of the paper is incorrect, it suggest that Michelle Obama is more popular than the president and that she has enthralled the populace in the USA. So, besides the fact that they dont culturally know much about Blacks in the USA [I cant imagine spain’s basic history schoolbooks of history has any mention of Black enslavement in the USA] they also need to perform a refutation for their stance on Michelle Obama’s position.

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