Thursday, April 19, 2018

Essence Magazine, President Obama on the cover so what!

June 6, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Perhaps in his quest to re-earn the support that he’s lost over the last four years, President Barack Obama made an appearance on the cover of Essence Magazine.  You can tell that this must be an election year, where all sins are supposed to be forgiven and all lost ground is regained in an instant.  Broken promises from the past are reconciled with promises that leverage the future, like borrowing more money from the bank that you never repaid in the first place.

I’m not sure what to make of President Obama’s appearance in Essence Magazine, but I can only ask this: “What’s the reason for Obama’s appearance and what does it mean for “us”?”

Barack Obama, for the most part, is worthy of every bit as much respect as any other African American public figure.  He is an accomplished man and has a beautiful family.  But as a black leader, I’m not sure if he meets the mark.   The president, unfortunately, has spent the last four years trying to prove to a  pack of racist Republicans that he’s not as black as they want to believe that he is.  He’s worked to be non-threatening in situations that called for him to fight.  He’s tried to build bridges in scenarios that called for a mobilizer.  He has been fearful of confrontation, leading millions of supporters to wonder, “Why did we believe in you in the first place?”

At this point, by putting him on the cover of Essence Magazine, the editors are getting a presentation that is as empty and mindless as the rest of its overly commercialized content.  They are getting flash without substance, and hype without actualization.  They are getting a politician who just happens to be black, but he’s only black long enough to take the picture.  Then, he goes right back to being whatever the situation calls for him to be.

I don’t dislike Barack Obama, but I don’t love him either.  Listening to him speak is like drinking a glass of water:  Devoid of flavor, uninteresting, yet not terribly bad to drink either.  I would hope that our first black president would not be such an empty shell, but the honest-to-God truth is that there is nothing meaningful for me to be excited about.   Obama’s “presidential swag” is the only thing that makes him interesting right now, and I’m sure that even Michelle is ready to go home.

I hope that Barack Obama wins the election in November.  But if he does win, I’m not sure what there is to look forward to.  Another four years of double-digit black unemployment, endless mass incarceration, unequal educational systems, and political leaders who are afraid to stand up for us?  Neither the word “hope,” nor the word “change” should be used for black Americans, since being hopeful that anything is going to change in Washington might only lead to disappointment.  At best, we can say that Obama is the better of two horrible options, which hardly makes anyone excited about American politics right now.

Sorry to sound like such a drag, but it is what it is.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


4 Responses to “Essence Magazine, President Obama on the cover so what!”
  1. insight says:

    And one word for you “GULLIBLE”!

  2. White Man says:

    Dear, Insight

    I never accused the president of being “crooked” that’s a serious accusation. Things like a crime, unethical behavior, proof, evidence and witnesses have to occur before such a libel statement should be uttered.

    When has having your picture taken for a magazine article in order to garner votes been a crime or crooked behavior?

    I have two words for you “Reading Comprehension”

  3. insight says:

    OH I see, Obama does not represent change, just another crooked politician!

  4. White Man says:

    Ok, so prior to Obama, every US President was white and 99.9% of hopefuls were white, and just about every last one of them was featured on the cover of some magazine, whether it was an Automobile magazine on down to Zoo Magazine. You know why? FOR POLITICAL GAIN

    You’ll don’t get it yet! Getting a political seat is not just about what the hopeful is promising if elected; it’s also about coverage, appearances and audience. Every white president past and future has and will do the same, it’s strategic.

    When he was running for election 4 years ago, he was featured on the cover of TIME and NEWSWEEK which both have predominately a white audience and subscribers, what negative thought did you think about that? (He’s selling out)

    Listen here, black folks, YOU DID NOT GET OBAMA IN TO OFFICE 4 years ago and you’re not going to do it this year either, he has to appeal to the minority as well as the majority, even though the minority is NOT going to get him re-elected.

    Stop bashing him because he’s on the cover of a black magazine at such a critical time, instead why don’t you write about how smart that move is and buy it, pass it around to your people and embrace it. White politicians have been doing it for hundreds of years.

    You want black people to get jobs, then take the long educational route and go to college and earn a degree to help make yourselves employable.

    You want mass incarceration to stop? Then stop committing crimes

    You want a better educational system, then enroll your children in private schools or encourage your children to go to college and become teachers or better yet, you go to college and become a teacher

    Obama is not 100 percent black, but he is the closet thing you all have right now. Yes, he has the power to help black people but because he’s not holding up the peace sign and enslaving white folks, you’ll think he’s not doing enough for the black community, get real. He knows who makes the difference when it comes to votes. And we all know a lot of the African American community either does not vote or can not vote, especially black men.

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