Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Just over 100 people, mostly women, gathered at the 10th Avenue Theatre last night to hear a staged reading of letters written to Michelle Obama. The letters were culled from the book "Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady," edited by two women from Buffalo who were interviewed on These Days. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram came up with the idea of gathering letters of support for Michelle Obama shortly after the famous satiric New Yorker cover came out, featuring the Obamas as fist-bumping terrorists.
Mo'olelo's Seema Sueko directed last night's reading, which included actresses Lorene Chesley, Diona Reasonover, and Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson reading passages from the letters, many of which expressed gratitude to the First Lady for representing black women and motherhood so positively.
There were moments of great humor as well. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts, and some photos from the night.
"You know, of course, that everything you say and do or don't say and don't do, will receive intense scrutiny. Hah! I know that you are the kind of strong, Black woman who can take it all in stride. Like Mama used to say, 'Chile, don't pay that no nevah mind.' It's obvious to me that you know who you are and you know what you want...If you ever visit Buffalo, NY, you have an open invitation to stop by and chat for awhile. We'd love to spend some time with you. Stay for dinner! By the way, I LOVED YO' RED AND BLACK ELECTION NIGHT DRESS! I know you took a lot of flack for wearing it but I thought it was supa-dupa-fly! Kudos to Sista Narcisco. Gurrrrrrl, - I LOVE yo' style! Keep on keepin' on!"
- Karima Amin, a lifelong resident of Buffalo and mother of three.
"What I really want to say is thank you for existing...I'd given up hope that Black men could affectionately and passionately adore a woman publicly the way that your old man adores you....You two have revolutionized what I believe to be possible in Black life. Black, young, sexy, beautiful, brilliant and powerful. How marvelous."
- Charity Thomas, Chicago transplant bringing a hometown feel to Brooklyn.
There are many more, including a brilliant letter declaring "black wives will be in vogue!" because of Michelle Obama. The editors are currently working on a new compilation of letters to the First Lady. You can get involved here.