Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Your Turn

This Spanish magazine put Michelle Obama's face and an American flag on the topless body of a female slave painted by Marie-Guilhelmine Benooist back in 1800. The artist who did the present work says she thinks Michelle Obama would love it. Do you think she will? Is it racist?

54 comments:

IDoTheRobot said...
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Molls said...

I don't think anyone would appreciate having their head put on another person's nude body. Art or not.

rhinovodka said...

In poor taste.

MontanaMarriott said...

Its funny but I do not recall another president and first lady who have gone through so much ridiculousness at their expense like the Obama's. Not the Bushes, the Reagans, Fords, Nixons, etc and yet everyone feels it is ok to do so. Like Enty stated before America may not want to admit it but "yes we are a racist nation" just accept it, don't call it something else, it is what it is, SMDH.

Beth said...

Here's the cover in question:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/michelle-obama-face-superimposed-spanish-magazine-famous-painting-slave-article-1.1146020

It looks like a cheap grab for publicity and readers.

IDoTheRobot said...

No, I don't think she would. It's too insinuating in my opinion.

rhinovodka said...

ok, I just googled this and yes, definitely not appropriate.

http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-08-27/no-michelle-obama-topless-on-a-magazine-cover-is-not-artsy/

Terry Teratoma said...

Agreed on all counts.

AKM said...

Not cool.

Agent**It said...

It's stupid. Just plain stupid.

What gets lost is the original artist's work (Marie-Guillemine Benoist) which was exhibited in 1800 "Portrait d'une négresse in the Salon". Six years previously, slavery had been abolished, and this image became a symbol for women's emancipation and black people's rights. This picture was acquired by Louis XVIII for France in 1818.

http://ebonyintuition.blogspot.com/2009/03/portrait-dune-negresse.html

Sherry said...

Agreed with Montana.

VIPblonde said...

This is such a strange time in America. There is still so much racism. Yet when someone does something that is clearly racist and you call that person out on it, then you are accused of being a "reverse-racist." Um, that's not how it works. Racism still exists, and calling a bigot a bigot does not make one a "reverse-racist." Rant over

El Roy 13 said...

No. I think she's wise enough to understand the concept of the piece. That our nation was built on the backs of slaves, and finally, we have a black first lady -which is as we should, or a black female POTUS, as for -what I said the piece says, that our nation was built on the backs of blacks (Africans).

MISCH said...

No I don't think she'd like it...

iheartgoss said...

No idea if she'd like it or not, because I don't know her, but I do think calling it "art" is a huge stretch. Photoshopping two images together is not art...

iheartgoss said...

Ok, take it back, it might have been an actual painting the artist did and then the magazine put it on their cover. If that's the case and reading up on the original painting, I actually can see Michelle liking it since it would be considered a great honor to be the face of abolishing slavery, but again I don't know and since I'm not black and live in a pretty all-white state I don't see much racism first-hand.

billybob said...

Since Mr Obama came to power I’ve noticed in some of the UK press snidey little remarks which would not be possible if the POTUS was a white man. Racism is alive and well and festering away in many places and people. Some websites use the most disgusting language to describe their fellow human beings. Especially the Stormfront and Dontstartmeoff websites in the UK.

billybob said...
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Munch said...

It may not be appropriate, but that would be the same whether the subject was a black or white First Lady - just because the subject isn't white doesn't necessarily mean it's racist. It can be stupid without having a deeper meaning. I don't think racism was meant here, I think it's just a piece of attention-seeking nonsense without any other agenda. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Agent**It said...
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lolaluvs2snack said...

smdh...very inappropriate

Maja With a J said...

I'm not sure she'd LIKE it, per se, it's not very well done, but I think she would understand the statement.

annabella said...

yes, its racist and gross and the artist is an idiot.

Staple611 said...

@VIPBlonde, I LOATHE the term "reverse racism." Every time I hear someone say, I can't help but jump down their throat - I typically say something like, "Reverse, as in "backwards?" Because how is it that you believe racism is SUPPOSED to work?"

Anon said...

I disagree. I think American media protects Michelle a lot more.If someone makes a slight remark about her looks,they get smeared with a racist tag.We heard stuff about Nancy Reagan and her tarot cards and she got slandered for living in a bubble for Say No to Drugs campaign.Hillary got lampooned because she chosed to be on the forefront when Clinton was in office.

Staple611 said...

@just curious - wasn't it Rush Limbaugh who called Michelle Obama fat?

Brian Brown said...

Its funny but I do not recall another president and first lady who have gone through so much ridiculousness at their expense like the Obama's.

You must have been asleep from Jan 2001 - Jan 2009

Jennifer H. said...

The Obamas don't really do ridiculous things to be photographed, so they have to be photoshopped out of context right into the goofiness, er, "art" or whatever.

Remember that time Nancy Reagan was photoshopped onto Mr. T's lap? That was just...oh, wait. Nevermind.

Jennifer H. said...

That was at OUR expense, unfortunately.

Still paying.

BerniniBellini said...

There is no need to discuss or comment on the color of the First Lady's skin or comment on any notion of slavery when discussing her. This is racism, pure and simple. I am embarrassed for the magazine who printed that, and for any American who does this or worse. We have all seen the horrible things printed about the Obamas, from racist billboards to cartoons. Just look online. America is becoming more backward and hate-filled year by year. Hate is now the norm. It is not acceptable.

Robert said...

This is especially ironic in view of the fact that today is the 39th anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial...Not only is it racist, the disrespect shown to the wife of the POTUS is pretty shocking. How can they get away with this?

Robert said...

CORRECTION: The 49th anniversary of that famous speech, sorry. Don't want to pull a Tracy Anderson here!

Eeekalicious said...

I think it was meant to be complimentary, and a tribute, because Michelle Obama is beautiful. If Michelle Obama weren't beautiful, they wouldn't have put her face on the magazine cover.

However, it was really presumptuous of them to do that without her permission. They're also assuming that she's descended from slaves. She also has a tweener and a teen at home.

I believe they meant well, but they should have got her permission.

Unknown said...

I don't know about racist, but I certainly think it is in poor taste and inappropriate for anyone to do to another person, most certainly our First Lady.

Anonymous said...

Uh, no. I know what they've been going for but I think it was incredibly insensitive and ignorant to do.

Anonymous said...

Uh, no. I know what they've been going for but I think it was incredibly insensitive and ignorant to do.

Honey Bunny said...

That painting is just awful and degrading. To think anyone, let alone the first lady, would find this art is beyond me.

__-__=__ said...

I think Michelle has uplifted women of all races by being in the White House. It was a big change after the corn pone killer. And Nancy Regan is a hypocritical slag for denying she knew her stylist after he contracted AIDS. F-her. White boys in DC are beyond scared. The outright and in your face racism was something I hadn't witnessed ever. Gas lighting and mobbing is at an all time high in every federal office! I blame Myers Briggs.

I think she just might like the cover.

Bubbles said...

I think they put her on the cover because she's Black and the First lady. And she's a descendant of slaves like me and many other African Americans. Her lineage has been documented.

MadLyb said...

It's disrespectful and racist. Can you imagine if someone had done this to a white first lady - putting her face on a nude body of some historical white female figure and splashing it on the cover of a magazine? Good Lord! The fact that the artist would think this is okay shows how deeply racist this country (and world) still is.

Agent**It said...

You have to look at the original piece of art for the meaning. Hillary Clinton has taken quite a beating over the years.

Here's a link to the original art:
http://ebonyintuition.blogspot.com/2009/03/portrait-dune-negresse.html

FlirtyChick74 said...

I've said this before about the cover, and I'll say it here:

The original intent of the painting might be about women's rights and black people's rights, but when the imagery is used to invoke shock and anger, it doesn't matter what the original intention of the artwork was. It is now being used for a different purpose and the author and editor of the magazine knew that. They knew it would be seen differently, in the US especially. If you want to look at it another way, you and I both know that the item used to scoop and eat soup or mix food is a spoon. It has a general and agreed upon purpose. But if someone were to use it in harmful ways (let's say, to gouge an eye out) it doesn't matter what the original or agreed upon intention was. It is now being used as a weapon – a different purpose.

Michael said...

I really think that America and the world is coming to terms with a black American President (I am black for the record.) I think that many of the really stupid, but not malicious things that have happened in regards to the Obama's are just people coming to grips with change. Maybe I am giving people too much credit but, it is hard to accept change, even positive change. Wait till we have a woman President. The shit will really hit the fan. :)

Bit dams said...

wtf? i'm going to say she won't "love it". although, it should get her lota of press. so, maybe, in a way she will appreciate it.

Anon said...

I don't remember,wouldn't be surprised,I've seen fat folks called others out for being too big.
I remember Scott Baio tweeted a pic of Michelle with her mouth opened and wrote something about Obama waking up to that.Poor Chachi caught so much hell and labelled a racist that he listed his resume of all the Black sitcoms that he had directed episodes for.lol
Joan Rivers was on Howard Stern and wondered if it was okay to called Michelle "Blackie O" since the Obamas were compared to the Kennedys so much.

mesewprettyoneday said...

@ just curious: "Poor Chachi" has been linked to racist remarks LONG before the Obamas ever came into the public eye. He's been called out before. Directing a black sitcom does not an innocent make.

@ FlirtyChick74: Right On.

Agent**It said...

Here's the rest of her "work".

http://www.saatchionline.com/Capucine

Caroline said...

OK, as an American living in Spain I know I'm late to the party, but let me have my little rant.

I find Spanish people in general (with exceptions, obviously), to be EXTREMELY politically incorrect and insensitive when it comes to matters of race and gender. As a country of white people (many of whom have Jewish and Moorish heritage, unbeknownst to them), they have little to no experience dealing with race issues. Immigration for them is either white people from the Europe/North America, Latin American nationals, Chinese people (all Asians are pretty much Chines), "moors" as they like to call them from North Africa, and black people from Africa. The idea that a child of Chinese heritage might consider themselves American, or heaven forbid, Spanish is not even a remote possibility.

I have been in professional meetings where black people are referred to as "negritos" ("negro" is fine in Spanish- it's literally the translation of black) with a sort of ignorant curiosity. People will ask me if there are lots of black people where I live, or tell me about some relative's trip to the US and how many black people there were! One man supposed it must be harder for them to find gainful employment. I had a friend who was Canadian, but adopted from South Korea. People used to slant their eyes at her and yell "china" (chinese girl)- thinking this was somehow funny. At festivals, I've seen performing groups use black face- to the delight of the audience. I've had the misfortune of being part of far too many xenophobic conversations about immigration- with ME, an immigrant! When I point this out they'll say, "Oh, well I didn't mean people like you." They mean white people.

Spanish people still seem to view non-white people as a sort of "other" and since Spanish people also seem to say everything they're thinking out loud, they tell you about it. You say "give this the girl in the blue shirt." They say "give this to the black girl." Instead of treating people the same, no matter their color, they feel a strong need to draw attention to it because it's different/exotic/weird.

So yeah, I could see where a Spanish magazine felt they were honoring Michelle Obama by putting her face on the painting. Being a descendant of black slaves is, like, her defining characteristic, right??

Caroline said...

Sorry that was so long-winded. Also forgot to mention the time the entire Spanish basketball team slanted their eyes for a photo... while at the Beijing Olympics.

Beta said...

@Caroline
im spanish and I agree with most of what you say
Hell yes, we need to learn that there are spanish of other colours and shapes. Spain was Arab for 7 centuries, something im very proud of, and something racists or people from the extreme right wing find difficult to digest. There are lots of spanish people from south american origins, asian origins of african, and yes we need to refer to them as spanish and not as ecuatorian, chinese, etc
I totally agree with you that we are mouthy, ive heard a ton of innapropiate remarks. For example, there's a cuban guy at work and sometimes people call him "negrito" which I know sounds AWFUL in english, but its not intended in that way, its an affectionate nickname and he takes it as such
so yeah, I agree about the innapropiateness. In our defense, I think that as the country hasn't live racist issues which such intensity as the US, most comments are meant to be funny and most people are not racists (however, I agree they are absolutely innapropiate). Probably you wont hear jokes about terrorism or the basque conflict, because there's a long history of those :/
my conclusion: we need polishing for sure.

About the magazine, its an attention grab for sure (whether it may be well done or not). I've never heard of that magazine in my whole life, its a controversy advertising campaign.

Rogue said...

@FlirtyChick74 Right on.

nightowl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nightowl said...

MontanaMarriott said...
Its funny but I do not recall another president and first lady who have gone through so much ridiculousness at their expense like the Obama's. Not the Bushes, the Reagans, Fords, Nixons, etc and yet everyone feels it is ok to do so.


Nope, never done before.

Barbara Bush = ugly old white man

kinkycurls2010 said...

I don't know if its racist as I don't think that was their intention but it's definitely inappropriate. You don't see the wives of any other World Leader on the cover of a magazine in an inappropriate or obscene manner. I am offended as an American to see the likeness of my First Lady on a magazine cover in that manner.

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