Africa’s First Lady

Barack and Michelle Obama have barely left the stage — it’s been a month — and already the U.S. press are gripped by nostalgia. In an era of ubiquitous images, no matter where you live in the world, the scenes of their kisses and hugs, their loving gazes and their fist bumps, are inescapable.

Even if you disagree with their politics – if you saw them as having been too focused on being “magical negroes” and not invested enough in challenging the structural underpinnings of American poverty, inequality and imperial violence -– there is no denying the elegance, intellect and fierceness of their bond. And in a world in which images of healthy loving black families are still too rare – their example has been important and powerful not simply to a generation of Americans of all races, but to Brazilians, South Africans and people in countries that are still too starkly defined by the color bar.

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