October 30, 2008
I did this illustration which I eventually titled “Is He Black Enough?“.
It’s oil on canvas, 16×20″.
I originally created this image and concept in April of 2007, when Barack Obama was in the early stage of running for the President of the United States of America.
At that time, Obama’s appeal to Black Americans was in question because he did not seem to fit the stereotypical African-American character.
I found the debate ridiculous and offensive.
Whether Barack Obama’s “blackness” was in question because of his relative light skin, his White mother, his speech, dress, or educational background,
it painted the picture that the general Black population is composed of inarticulate, under-educated, one-skin-toned people who, therefore, could not relate to Barack Obama.
The fact is, Black America yields an abundant amount of articulate, intelligent, interesting African-Americans. Many of whom, I’m sure, helped elect Barack Obama not because of his skin color but, because of the critical issues facing the country.
To suggest that being educated, bright, and eloquent makes you less Black is extremely insulting.
Still, the election of Obama shows the wonderfulness of America.
Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, young, old, disabled, gay, straight…all came together to elect the first Black president of the United States simply because he was the right choice. Because he represented something that all Americans could believe in.
But I think that the question of Barack Obama’s “blackness” ultimately stems from the minds of racists who, unfortunately, still exist in this country.
When creating my painting, I hoped to diffuse this controversy by illustrating the absurdity of it with extremes.
I hope that with my art I can help, even if only in a tiny way, to progress the causes of justice and equality by pointing out that which is unjust.