Monday, August 8, 2011
The Age of Obama Chronicles: The First Black President May Be a Failure, But at Least We Got a Black Cleopatra in a Summer's Eve Commercial
As Rome burns, some fun for us on a Monday. I got something good coming on Wednesday that should both equally offend the Herrenvolk real America types, as well as provide some affirmation for those already in the know.
We may be in the midst of the haunting of President Obama by the Tea Party GOP and a day where the Chief Executive tried (and failed) to give an FDResque fireside chat on a sick economy in the middle of the summer, but it is still okay to laugh. Moreover--and file this under the rule of unintended consequences in postracial Age of Obama America--there remains much to celebrate: it took decades, but the Afrocentrists have finally won a key fight in the overlapping terrain of the public imagination, consumer culture, and historical memory.
While Elizabeth Taylor was the source of much grumpiness for her portrayal of a "white Cleopatra," and others have complained that Angelina Jolie is "too white" to play Cleopatra in an upcoming movie, and always allowing for the space Negro/Egyptian coolness of Sun Ra and the funkiness of George Clinton and P-Funk, I for one never got the deep investment in the Afrocentric dreaming for Mother Africa...and the fixation of some on making Cleopatra a woman of color.
As was explained to me by a Professor of Classics some years back, she was a rather plain and hook nosed, inbred, Greek woman. Political acumen aside, I see no reservoir of "strawnggg black womanhood" to be drunk from or celebrated there. In a world where some folks need to wear their affirmations on t-shirts, fictions too provide comfort. But then again, as a black man in America I am the envy of the world [insert snark].
In the Age of Obama, the Strong Black Woman of Mother Africa and Cleopatra is an icon and motif for Summer's Eve douche. Better than Lysol, but still not too healthy for the ecosystem of the yoni, we can at least be happy with our small victories.
Sister Shahrazad Ali would indeed be proud.