This past week I have tried really really hard to ignore the numerous news posts and commentaries about the depiction of First Lady, Michelle Obama, as a half naked slave woman on the cover of a Spanish magazine.
For the record, I find the “artist’s” work both insulting and despicable. The notion that the high level of respect we should all have for the wife of a sitting president should be briefly suspended to accommodate her “art” is both ridiculous and serves to show her level of arrogance and ignorance.
Aside from the fact that Karine Percheron-Daniels used a sitting First Lady in her so called art, we can also assume that she created the image without permission from Mrs. Obama or at least the courtesy to let her know she would be displayed half naked on a magazine cover. This is something that many have seemed to gloss over but to me it does not seem all that far from a rape.
When a woman decides to be naked with a man, as long as they are two consenting adults, the law does not generally find any fault with that. If however, the man used force, there is grounds for legal charges against him. The key elements are her consent and his force.
My intention is not to ever trivialize rape, but to show to what extend Percheron-Daniels’ actions violated the First Lady.
Applying this to Karine Percheron-Daniels depiction of Mrs Obama, Mrs Obama presumably never gave consent and was therefore forced to appear half naked for the whole world to see.
On her website, Karine Percheron-Daniels says,
“With my art, and particularly with my’ famous nudes’ series I try to offer an alternative unexpected reality to allow the viewer to re-examine his unique subjective experience and general understanding and view the world and people in a different way.”
To me, this statement falls far short of justifying the so called artist’s actions. With all that being said though, the way that many have reacted, by giving Percheron-Daniels a lot of media attention, is the exact opposite of what she deserves. Up until this past week, I had never seen any of her art, nor had I even ever heard of her and I suspect that’s the case for most of us.
Now, because of our tremendous reaction, or better put, overreaction, Percheron-Daniels is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame. As hard as it may be, it is my strong opinion that when things like this happen, we should just ignore them and keep going about our business.
Black people in America have been degraded to the one button that anyone can push and is assured of a huge reaction that will give them exactly what they were looking for-a spotlight.
Maybe if we stop overeating, people like Percheron-Daniels will stop pushing our buttons.
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com