Malia Obama exemplifies the true meaning of black excellence at only 18. She is already following in her mother and father’s footsteps by attending Harvard University in the fall. Additionally, she finished her summer internship with the United States Embassy in Spain and already has a full list of accomplishments that puts many of our resumes to shame. She’s a fashion icon, has interned with Lena Dunham and sometimes worked as her father’s spanish interpreter. She is probably one of the biggest examples of #blackgirlmagic in our generation.
Over the summer, Malia received a lot of backlash from the media because of pictures and videos that surfaced of her twerking, wearing a crop top and allegedly smoking marijuana at Bryson Tiller’s set at Lollapalooza. Some people were outraged by the behavior that was coming from the then-president’s daughter, but Malia’s supporters quickly came to her defense. Her criticizers must understand that Malia Obama is an 18-year-old girl whether she is the then-president’s daughter or not.
I personally attended Lollapalooza and spotted Malia at the Bryson Tiller show and I can assure you she looked like a normal teenager. This was a particularly cool moment for me because I thought, “wow she’s just like us.” Attending music festivals, dancing and experimenting is what most college girls do and my girl crush on her grew a little more because I saw that no matter who she is, she’s still a normal girl like me.
However, sometimes, Malia is still viewed a little differently. Within the black community, an association with one of America’s sweethearts and drug use is automatically controversial. It’s as if young spotlighted women of color have to stray away from every negative connotation just to be viewed in a positive light. Actually, that’s every black person. We have to be twice as great and even more well behaved in order to be viewed in a positive light.
In Malia’s case, she had to be a part of The First Family, a role she didn’t necessarily choose herself. She was not to be a part of any controversy while in the White House and had to have the perfect outfit that wasn’t too “revealing” and the perfect facial expressions that showed excitement during official White House affairs. Although she was and still is an amazing role model for girls, certain media outlets only focused on what she didn’t do right, or so they thought.
In this social media age, things are dealt with very differently, especially if you look a certain way. In 2001, Jenna and Barbara Bush, daughters of then-president, George W. Bush, were caught underage drinking with fake IDs. Of course, they received backlash but reportedly not as extensive as Malia Obama’s. Not only did Malia Obama receive backlash for partying, she also skipped the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to party, which made matters worse for her.
Apparently, while letting her hair down and jamming to music, people forgot that you can dance with a crowd of people and still go home to complete homework that’s due the next week. People forgot that you can work hard while playing hard as well. People forgot that they too once partied like it’s 1999, but most importantly, people forgot that Malia wasn’t the president herself and is an average girl who likes to have fun and is essentially a girl who can do both. But not only is Malia Obama a girl who can do both, she is also a girl who is transitioning into womanhood and sprinkling her #blackgirlmagic along the way.