Michelle Obama Undressed: Lost in Translation or Just Racist?

by Althea Legal-Miller

On newsstands across Spain, Michelle Obama can be seen gracing the August 2012 cover of Magazine Fuera de Serie, a lifestyle supplement to the newspaper Expansión.  She is seated on a chair draped in the American flag, partially nude in slave attire, complete with one of Aunt Jemima’s chicer headscarves.  Perhaps because it seems so obviously offensive, the mind attempts to rationalize; “Did this get lost in translation, or is this as racist as I think?”

As a black British woman, born and raised in London, I am acutely aware of other recent European racist train wrecks concerning the representation of black womanhood: the Dutch magazine Jackie “deconstructing” Rihanna’s style under the obscene headline “De Niggabitch” and Sweden’s minister of culture cutting into a cake depicting a caricature of a naked black woman to name but two.  Unfortunately, this Michelle Obama/Slave Woman mash-up sees Europe produce yet another epic fail in black female representation.

The magazine cover for the feature article “Michelle Tataranieta De Esclava, Dueña De América” (Michelle Granddaughter of a Slave, Lady of America) is the brainchild of white French/English fine artist Karine Percheron-Daniels.  Her mixed-media portrait superimposes Obama’s head onto the famous art-historical body of an African Guadeloupean female slave painted by French artist Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist in 1800. 

Percheron-Daniels’ portrait, First Lady, was not commissioned for the Spanish magazine cover, but is part of a larger series of “famous nudes” that includes Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II, Abraham Lincoln, and President Barack Obama.  In defense of her controversial series, the artist argues that she offers the viewer an “alternative unexpected reality” that allows us to “view famous individuals in a different way.”

But what does the composite of Obama’s face with the nude body of a nameless slave woman say about the way we have been invited to “view” the first lady and, by extension, black female communities of the diaspora?

According to Percheron-Daniels, her decision to transform Benoist’s black “negress” into Obama was “for obvious reasons” that she chose to leave unspecified. Based on such obvious (read: unchecked racist ideology) logic, Percheron-Daniels vacates  Obama, and fills in a 19th century European fantasy, which evokes a black female body that can be dominated and possessed, especially sexually.  To add insult to injury, Percheron-Daniels declares in blissful ignorance, “I’m sure Obama would love it, and I hope that someday she can see it.”

Let’s be clear: This image has nothing to do with acknowledging Obama’s enslaved foremothers, and everything to do with reinforcing and extending the historical denial of black women’s individuality and agency. The portrait robs Obama of her identity, voice, and intellect, and visually shackles her to a politically passive subject, resigned to an assigned role as slave. I do not support the censorship of art. However, the mass reproduction of this nude portrait on the cover of a national newspaper supplement is a legitimate concern. Of all the stock images that might have been pulled for the cover, I find the editorial decision to portray  Obama as the embodiment of enslavement and colonization extremely troubling.  This is all the more perplexing given that this image severely undermines the cover story article, which acknowledges the political significance of Obama and champions her intuitive and intellectual prowess. So sad, then, that this image has in some way become a part of the Spanish popular imaginary.

We must be vigilant. The history of our image in Western art is deeply rooted in representations of our nude or semi-clothed bodies. These images – largely determined by stereotypes used to legitimize racial and gender oppression – speak to a painful history of exploitation and erotic objectification, which continues to manifest in multiple contexts across the black female diaspora.

  • Alsace

    “This is all the more perplexing given that this image severely undermines the cover story article, which acknowledges the political significance of Obama and champions her intuitive and intellectual prowess.”

    I haven’t read the article, but how positive could it be if the cover headline reads, “Michelle se come a Obama” (literally, “Michelle Eats Obama”)? The phrase “comerse a alguien” means every innocent and not-so-innocent thought that instantly comes to mind. . . from eating a baby’s face to eating a man’s dick. But of course, covers always serve different purposes than articles.

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

    Really?! I’d have to read the article to try and see if the picture and the context connected but still this seems a little extreme and offensive. I don’t think the wife of any world leader would be represented in this way though…things that make you go “hmmmm”….

  • Shepherd

    sometimes I can only shake my head and wonder what an earth is wrong with some of these white people. Either they are so stupid as to think this is appropriate, or worse, they know exactly what they are doing

  • QuestKnowledge

    I guess the writers of this article figured since rappers religiously demean and disrespect black women they could do it and it be passed as praise or some other ridiculous claim they’ll make in defense of this racist mess. I wonder would they put good ol’ Barbara Bush on the cover with her breast hanging out. I really want to understand the reasoning behind “beat the black woman up” figuratively speaking of course cause this really is getting out of hand.

  • C

    The amount and frequency of disrespect and racist behavior that has been publicly aimed at the First Lady is way beyond what would ever be ‘allowed’ if the President and his family were white; and I’m tired of people acting like that isn’t so.

  • Laugh

    Oh, they know exactly what they are doing! They are pathetic, ignorant, racists who will do and say anything for money and to become famous. Then walk around like huh, why is everyone questioning me, whatever could be wrong? They are bottom feeders, the lowest common denominator, pathetic losers, with no shame.

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

    I agree 110%! The media has definitely taken shots at the presidents and their family member’s of the past, hell even the children aren’t off limits (Chelsea Clinton’s teeth, questioning Mailia’s real age) but I think its been very extreme with the current First Family.

  • C

    I agree. I remember shots being fired at white first families in the past, but it is easy to see that it is gone beyond those levels since the Obama has been in office.

  • D.T.

    This is beyond disrespectful. The attacks against FLOTUS are like none I’ve seen before. And no one can convince me it’s for any other reason than because she’s black.

  • CurlySue

    I would guess the artist is one of those artistic people who think her creativity put her beyond the realm of what normal humans must endure when they put out/say something patently strange and offensive. It’s always the same “But…but…it’s ART!”

    I swear, the bubbles some “creative” people live in.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    and it’s bad art…..

  • Kahli

    I’m sure it was meant as a racist slur… I’ve lived within the spanish culture without being of latina decent & my experience with Spainar have been mainly racist..

  • Ange B

    I agree with alot of what this author is saying…why go there? We have never seen before Michelle Obama as a slave but we have seen images of Black women as slaves before. Having her bare her breasts speaks so a different history in my mind…knowing that a slave woman’s body is not her own but belongs to a master..to use sexually any way they should please. If they were going for different why not show her as oh I don’t know an astronaut? That to me would be different view of Michelle Obama…not a picture that is closely linking her past as well as many other Women of African American descent (as this is a depiction of an African American woman) I do acknowledge that there was slavery all over.

  • Yb

    “This image has nothing to do with acknowledging Obama’s enslaved foremothers, and everything to do with reinforcing and extending the historical denial of black women’s individuality and agency.”

    +Infinite Agree completely. You would never see the images of former first ladies reduced to images of primitive European neanderthals or savage Vikings. Anyone who wants to deny the extreme hazing and public debasing of black women and the FLOTUS are in great denial.

  • African Mami

    “alternative unexpected reality”

    I would think an unexpected reality for a black person would deviate far from the concept of slavery.

    Art is a medium that folks sometimes use to cover up their mental space, in the name of being a creative.

  • Blasè

    it seems to me that, without earning it, the Obama’s are he most disrespected “first” family in my lifetime.


  • pe.riche.

    I bet they know exactly what they are doing. But, to provide a safety net for their own racism, they hide behind their outright offensive behavior by deeming it “art” or “self-expression”, thus the drivel above.

  • lil ray

    the art this is base on is called LE/LA NEGRESS JUST GOGGLE IT.

  • gigi

    the disrespect level is so high, I am sure they wouldn’t dare do it to any other first lady

  • lil ray

    and yes it,s racist.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    This is no surprise to me, after all racism was born in Europe. And Spain is one of the worst offenders when it comes to racism, both in the past and now.

  • African Mami

    Val darling,

    I miss you, please hurry up and make yo damn comeback, lol.!! *waves*

  • Vicki

    I think the representation is in bad taste. However, to put a positive spin on it, James Brown said it best, “I don’t need you to give me nothing just open up the door.” The doors were opened and we went from enslavement to the White House!

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    Hi, AM!

    Lol. Okay.

    *waves back*

  • ChillyRoad

    So Sarah Bartman was being paraded around Europe in a cage because of Lil Wayne?

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • ChillyRoad

    I doubt racism was born in Europe. The caste system is older than what we now know as Europe.

  • ChillyRoad

    I’m glad things like this are happening. For all those talented tenth Negros who want shame and blame black folks, let this be a lesson to you especially. If they hate you, there is nothing you can do. Your education doesn’t matter, your diction doesn’t matter, you living in the White House doesn’t matter.

  • ChillyRoad

    Bad photo shop.

  • Apple

    Spain is a very racist place , I’m not surprised

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “The doors were opened”

    they were not ‘opened’ we kicked those MFs in…..

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    IMO. the poor quality of the work and the fact that it was actually allowed on a magazine cover shows that it was meant as a caraciture

  • http://twitter.com/KaJo503 Karen J (@KaJo503)

    I guess I should/could disclaim first that I’m a senior-aged white woman who’s mostly observed the beauty of African-American…well, actually black women of all nationalities…from afar. I really never have had non-white acquaintances so I’ll admit to ignorance.

    But there have been queenly portrayals of the black woman, from legendary Hatshepsut, Tiye, and Nefertari going forward, and if anyone deserves a queenly portrayal, it’s Michelle Obama — as well as some of the wonderful women before her, like Coretta King and Myrlie Evers.

  • MySister’sKeeper

    I lived in Spain for a year. No benefit of the doubt is needed or will be given. It is as racist as they intended it to be.

  • MySister’sKeeper

    What queens have you seen with her boobs hanging out looking like a slave. How is that a depiction of a black queen? You don’t have to be black or have black friends to see the error of this “art.”

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    You need to take a remedial history course, ChillyRoad.

  • Dan

    The difference between caste systems and racial systems is a matter of attributing why people belong in various strata to supposedly biological criteria. Race is different than other concepts like ethnicity BECAUSE it always, ultimately, has some philosophical commitment to the notion that “race” has a biological reference.

    And yes, race as a concept was borne out of European philosophy. Immanuel Kant, of all people, when not writing about universal morality, spent a lot of his time arguing for the “reality of race.”

  • Ashley GaGa

    No. But he definitely helps perpetuate the notion that the humiliation she received was not in vain.

    I smell the Folgers brewing. Yum!

  • http://twitter.com/RKahendi Rose Kahendi (@RKahendi)

    ‘But what does the composite of Obama’s face with the nude body of a nameless slave woman say about the way we have been invited to “view” the first lady and, by extension, black female communities of the diaspora?’

    I was initially troubled by the magazine cover and thought that Michelle Obama had been singled out. But I went on to read that the painting it portrayed was part of a “famous nudes” series that includes historical figures of different races. Shouldn’t we be talking about the composite of Michelle Obama within that context? What went into the composition of the portraits of the other historical figures, including Elizabeth II, Abraham Lincoln and others. Are there similar concerns about the ways they have been portrayed? Why is it offensive to portray Michelle Obama in the nude, but not an issue that all these other figures have been portrayed in the nude? If anything, it seems to be that Karine Percheron-Daniels is being consistent in her methods.

    I admit that I do not know anything about the original artist who painted the slave woman and I do not know what his intentions were. But I’ve seen several of the pictures in the “famous nudes” series and, quite frankly, I think Michelle Obama’s is the most tasteful of the bunch.

  • Lady P

    This was a very malicious disrespectful racist act towards Flotus as expected. The more she steps onto the podium, the more disrespect she will have to endure. The problem is in which area can society (the media) attack the first lady? The media had to reach back to a time when black women were less pleasurable, no identity, and voiceless. And used for sexual exploitation. As Ange B stated, “We have never seen before Michelle Obama as a slave but we have seen images of Black women as slaves before.” This is how you know it is a plot to lessen the image of the First Lady of the United States of America. The media is aware of the plight of the black woman slave and so are we. The FLOTUS title [within itself] gives her an identity; she gives herself an identity thru her education, intellect, and passions. As we are aware, some black women are unwed single mothers – she’s not that. Black women are coined as overweight and don’t exercise- she’s not that. She’s doesn’t hide or apologize for who she is. She is proud and is outspoken. Our First Lady defies the studies, thoughts, and misconceptions that are placed upon black women. Society would like to believe that all black women are alike, but we’re not. Our First Lady is the visible confirmation of this truth. Our “Fabulous” First Lady is a well-rounded, educated, beautiful woman from WHO she is to the WAY in which she represents herself which I believe is her individuality. She is a great role model for women in general. To attack the first lady in order to lessen her is the oppressors bringing out their big guns. If this election is won, I’m sure more attacks will follow. She is simply a threat. Every attack you can think of has been directed towards POTUS; of course, the first lady is a target as well. Ridiculousness at its finest—in actuality a darn shame!!! Ok, references to Malia’s height; what is going to be said about my baby Sasha?

  • http://mommaused2say.wordpress.com mommaused2say

    Disrespectful and down right stupid! Looks like someone is just looking to sell magazines and controversy ALWAYS sells.

  • http://gravatar.com/rh8onda rh8onda

    There is a famous painting called “Lady Liberty leads the people.” Please take a look at it.

  • Barbara

    A…And, Europeas work with other Euopeans world-wide…trying to maintain their racist dominance over other peoples. Black people have always been their number one target.

  • @lfeedemlead

    A few years back, the State department website removed travel warnings for black people traveling to spain, just prior to the First Ladies visit. The Peace Corps has similar warnings on its website.

  • http://facebook.com/ryostylin ryostylin

    We constantly complain about the way in which we are presented by others. How about representing ourselves in the best way we can and not allowing others to project unto us what or who they think we are. Why are we still seeking validation from white owned businesses and publications. Only when we start having and promoting positive self images and values about who we are, our history and who we want to become will such things become non-issues. Water off a duck’s back. In Jamaica we say “anuh whe dem call you, is wha yuh ansa tu!” Translation: It doesn’t matter the name you’re called. It’s how you view yourself. In the end guys time will be the greatest adjudicator.

  • MySister’sKeeper

    While I agree, it doesn’t mean we should simultaneously stay silent to misrepresentation of our people. We can create our own and still voice our opinions about those who attack us. One does not diminish the other.

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  • Cree

    I don’t think bringing up rappers in this case was relevant. Michelle Obama has almost no relation to hip hop to the international world, and this magazine wasn’t about music, and this disrespect was not done in any fashion or form similar to those idiots in rap who do exploit WILLING women.

  • LemonNLime

    Have y’all been to Spain? I have and trust nothing about this surprises me about me. I have been to Spain multiple times and it is the only place I have been where I have experienced true in your face racism. From being thrown out of stores to people refusing to check me out in stores or seat me in restaurants to people literally pushing me around in public. Heck the people who were nicest to me while I was in Spain, weren’t from Spain (they were Latinos and French). Crap, they are known international for yelling slurs and throwing things at black soccer players…who are playing and winning FOR Spain.I would expect nothing less from those douchebags.

  • Ventina

    I think whites are just plain old VILE. That’s all just vile.

  • Ventina

    True dat!! True dat!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mis.shele Michele D. Robinson


  • July

    I saw it when I went to the Louvre museum in Paris. It’s true that women were often represented with bare breasts in french art. But why did she has to use the body of a slave? I still think it’s disrespectful.

  • Mademoiselle

    What is it about how Michelle Obama represents herself that allowed this publication to “project unto us what or who they think” she is? Above all, I believe MO works hard to promote a positive self-image and values, which is why this cover is so outrageous. If we don’t stand up against this, at what point will we stand up for the misperceptions of us that mainstream media continually try to peddle en masse?

  • http://theaaridan.tumblr.com Aaricka Washington

    Funny thing is…is that the original painting isn’t even the lady’s art. Its someone else’s. This is just all wrong.

  • Pseudonym

    Whaaaaat?!!! As a black woman who’s been to Spain twice and has a friend who lived in Spain with her Spanish husband, I call b.s. on this. If this is true, can you post the warning on the Peace Corps website? There aren’t even Peace Corps programs in Spain!!!


  • tight lipped mary

    they know what they are doing.
    serious DISRESPECT come to mind.

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  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Bingo! But the thing is they don’t care. Sad that a black woman can be a shining example of what it is to be a wonderful woman and they will still attack her, so it is damn if you do and damn if you don’t really because at the end of the day people are still going to try and knock you down a peg or two or remind you of what your place should be in the totem pole…smh But I guess this is a wakeup call to those who thought Europe was this Utopia

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  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I think we should stop consuming and disseminating this type of news and information. It does nothing for us. We know too many white people are vile and racist. This is not news. We know they keep finding new ways to disrespect us while claiming they are not racist one bit and don’t know any racist person, until they are and do if and when the story calls for it and it casts them as the hero.

    I truly hope the well-intentioned black media would stop acting as agents of racist whites by spreading their vile message. Their message stays with them if our media doesn’t work hard to disseminate it. Everyone’s views, thoughts, and perceptions of us as black women are not important. Every white person’s opinions of us are not important. I don’t care if they hate us, I don’t care if they love us, I just care that we love ourselves and protect every black girl from hearing and believing what they desperately want them to believe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/moviesbasedontruestoriesdatabase Traciy Curry-Reyes

    I’m in shock right now.

  • Sweetles

    There is nothing “queenly” about that disgusting depiction of the FLOTUS. She is in slave attire and partially naked. That picture is the direct opposite of queenly.

  • http://twitter.com/jupiterjulep24 Jules (@jupiterjulep24)

    Really? I was thinking about pursuing an opportunity to live in Madrid. Would you be willing to discuss your experience with me? I can be reached at @jupiterjulep24 on twitter. Thanks!

  • QuestKnowledge


    To ignore the fact that music plays a role in perception would be ignorantly living in bliss. Michelle Obama specifically does not have any relation to the international world but you must remember it isn’t particularly about Michelle Obama but about her being a black woman. Music and magazines and other art forms coexist under the same realm, they’re juxtapose to each other. If I must remind you hip hop is world wide. In addition disrespect is disrespect, it doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of heinous words typed in an article or misogynistic anthems played on the radio.

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  • omfg

    when i saw that – michelle se come a obama – i was like, omfg.

    having the obamas in the white house has really emboldened people to really show their true racist, low life qualities colors. it’s like people can’t restrain themselves.

    part of me appreciates their honesty, even when they are trying to hide behind their obvious issues. it’s good when the light reveals the lurking roaches.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    maybe the Spanish are still mad from when the moors conquered them?


  • Truth

    Yeah James, the last significant thing to come from Africa

  • http://theblackparacosmistmind.wordpress.com theblackparacosmistmind

    For real? Because I’m leaving for Spain this weekend. I mean..I’ve experienced in your face racism, I’m from Texas. But being thrown out of a restaurant? That’s too much.

  • Veenie

    Gee, thanks Black men for protecting and uplifting the Black woman through song, dance, positive images, and beautiful words of love. Now, the whole world is expressing the same admiration you have for your women. Way to go!

  • Harvetta

    The original painting celebrated the end of slavery … doesn’t mean it was a great decision to print this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JASONLASLOAN Jason Sloan
  • atljawja

    Can we not drag black men through the mud when this issue is clearly about white anti-black racism? What’s even worse about that misguided attempt to analogize racism to misogyny is that the image specifically invokes imagery used from the 19th century and earlier, well before black men produced any “song, dance” about black women.

  • atljawja

    Can we not drag black men through the mud on an issue that is clearly about white anti-black racism? What’s even more misguided about bringing them into this conversation is that the magazine cover invokes racist imagery of the 19th century and earlier, well before black men ever produced any “song, dance” about black women

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.sibert.1 Mark Sibert

    Obama did not have any foremothers enslaved. His heritage is directly from Africa one generation back on his father’s side, and his mother was White. That’s over 200 years after the American Emancipation.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Tacky, tasteless and unsurprising….as Spain is one of the most racist countries within Western Europe.

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  • LemonNLime

    For real, I came in to buy some flat I saw in the store front window. In Spanish, I asked the man if I could try on a pair in my size. This man took the shoe out of the window, grabbed (in a violent way) my leg and put the shoe next to my and told me that it wouldn’t fit. Then if grabbed my by my arm, pulled me out of the store, and pushed me out all whilst calling me every name in the book. I gave Spain a second try and it was even worse (that was when I wasn’t allowed into the restaurant). To this day I am convinced it was only because of my US passport I wasn’t harassed on the train from Perpignan to Barcelona because they HARASSED all the black people on that train, all who legally were allowed to enter Spain. They even detain people shoving guns in their face. It was unreal.

    Best of luck to you my friend. I wish you many happy travels and I hope your Spain experience is much better than mine have been. There was a Nomadness trip there this summer and I don’t think they had any problems.

  • lady

    “As we are aware, some black women are unwed single mothers – she’s not that.” Some…not most?

  • lady

    We know too many black people are vile and racist thinking EVERY white person is evil and racist too.

  • Lady P

    @ lady

    You’re correct. Should read: “As we are aware, most black women are unwed single mothers – she’s not that.” :)

  • Likewaterforchoc

    Without reading the article, my initial belief was that this painting was depicting Michelle Obama in traditional African-styled garb. I believe that people’s main issue should be with the fact that someone portraying the wife of a world leader in brief nudity. As someone who loves nudes and has no issue with it, I have a deep level of respect for MO and the position she holds having met her in person prior to Obama winningthe presidency. But,

    “Aunt Jemima headscarf”? Irresponsible, of this author to say the least. Black women in America and Europe are gradually going back to incorporating printed hairscarves and black women in Africa have never stopped wearing them. African garb can be fashionable as well. It needn’t always be Gucci or Donna Karan. Why are we so quick to reject the African?

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  • Michael F

    Racist much

  • http://twitter.com/mightyrosebud Heather Waters (@mightyrosebud)

    I was curious how the others were portrayed, so I googled and found this…


  • Gwen Myles

    Until 2008, we as African Americans knew we were living with racism, but after the Obama election, we found it was down right BLATANT! There is no excuse for every person who is against any sort of racism to say they didn’t know. We now need to re-elect President Obama and show the world what unity and We Can really means!

  • Gwen Myles

    It doesn’t matter is the picture and the content match. The picture if what you see first and it is such a racist statement. When is the last time you saw a picture of Mrs. Bush or Mrs. Regan on the front cover of a magazine with what appears to be her breast exposed! RIGHT! I thought so!
    Racism is so alive!!

  • http://twitter.com/RKahendi Rose Kahendi (@RKahendi)

    I had no idea what an “Aunt Jemima headscarf” was, but I assumed it was something about the historical stereotyping of black people in the US. Your response kind of confirms that for me.

    You have a good point about African women and headscarves. I think it’s important to reject stereotypes, but that does not mean we should automatically reject the cultural practices that inform the stereotypes.There’s nothing wrong with black women wearing headscarves if they choose to do so.

    On nudity in art: In principle, I have nothing against it. I come from a part of the world where some still dress traditionally: they wear minimal clothing, and there’s nothing sexual about it as far as they’re concerned.

    In the case, of this particular painting, the original artist is known to have portrayed a number of historical figures (black, white, and Latino) in the nude, so I don’t agree with the comments that suggest it is racist. You can see some of the artist’s other paintings here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/karine-percherondaniels.html

  • http://gravatar.com/gwen1017 gwen1017

    Or of a Jewish woman with her breast out. Why not the Queen of Spain?

  • parvenu

    This cover is in extremely poor taste and simply proves that the pure castillions have never recovered from the Moorish invasion, domination and integration.

  • parvenu

    Those who consider themselves pure castillions still are raging against the invasion by the Moors centuries ago. It was the Moors whose long occupation of southern Spain gave millions of Spaniards that “Swarthy look”. The racism that these people exhibit is rooted against all things African including those long gone Moors.

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  • http://twitter.com/InsomniacSioj Insomniac Sioj (@InsomniacSioj)


  • laNubian

    Are you really suggesting that the success of Africa per colonial time was due to the fact Africans were racist to each other? Please learn some history and stop listening to western driving philosophy which suggests of otherwise. If you are in fact black and are making such a statement this would make you a clear result of ‘Willi Lynch’s Letter’ poster child.

    Just because our oppressors and slave owners told us this is our history doesn’t mean it is. As black people we know that slavery is part of our history but so is all those kings and queens of great empires like the Kushait, Zulu, Axumawit, Egyptian, Nubian, etc.

    Now, tell us sense you know so much about where slavery started, where exactly was the first place? In addition, where were the Europeans when The great Continent of Afrika was treading spices, gems, inventions, math and science with the continent of Asia? Why was it so important for Europeans to dismantle Afrika? Why was my history stolen from me? Why was it important that the most diverst cultured and heritage continent a threat to the whole Europe? Why was it important to divide and conquer us? Why do we have the most naturally blessed continent on earth deemed poor? Why after 500 years my continent is still attacked just for existing.

    Let us bloody learn who we are and stop spilling the self hatred that was instilled in us. We are better that that.

    “The Whitman’s inferiority created his superiority complex.” – H.I.M King Haile Sellasie I

    Love from Ethiopia

  • Magoonski

    Spain needs money don’t they? Well I hope they suffer and rot for this indignity! Michelle Obama is a role model and represents the United States no matter what side of the aisle your on. I hope these people get back what they dished out a hundred fold!

  • laNubian

    I must say that I’m not surprised. I took a trip to Spain as a teenager with my father and I must say racism is their speciality. I’m East African and have Halle Berrish skin complexion. While in Barcelona, one guy says to me, “You can say your South American neggra instead of African with your skin color if you want.” while a woman told me that, “It must be painful every day growing up that color.” I was only 16 and was born and raised in Africa especially in the part where whites weren’t present, I didn’t know what she was talking about. In my naive mind, I always thought the white skin was much more painful because it always appears as if it’s cooking due to the sun.

    Anyway, we stayed there for three weeks and I can tell you that I’ve never seen anything like it. They were proud racists!

    On another note: this isn’t the first time Spain has displayed its racism to the world. As a matter of fact I can list a few from recent time:

    - Lewis Hamilton, the people of Spain painted their faces black while holding pictures of monkeys and singing their infamous racial rant/song at the tracks

    - The UEFA charged Spain due to the fact fans were making monkey noises at Mario Balotelli in 2008 soccer game

    - Karine Percheron ( the same worthless so called artist) photoshopped the real Cleopatra using Elizabeth Taylor (Mind you Cleopatra was African and BLACK)

    - In 2008 Olympics the entire Spanish Basketball team posed for a pre-game advert making slit-eyed gestures

    - London Olympics Spain lost soccer game to Honduras and Spanish team went on a racist rant and attacked the referees

    And now this?

    Plain and simple, Spain is one of the most blatantly racist nation on earth and should not be tolerated!!

  • lilly

    This is racism at it’s best! How dare you racist disrespect the first lady of the United States.

    I am cancelling ALL the wholesale orders I placed from various businesses in Spain. I will never spend a dime on anything made in this racist ignorant country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krista.noone Krista Noone

    You realize that your comment is also racist, which is to say hypocritical, correct?

  • ayle

    First of al, Barack Obama is the President, and I doubt that he is stupid. Secondly, look at your second and third sentences…..Michelle is NOTa he; now who’s STUPID!!!!

  • Dave Lister

    A bare breast is racist?? Since when?

  • Dave Lister

    How can that be since the mainstream media is in the Obama’s hip pocket? So which is it? Racist media or Obamamedia?

  • @lfeedemlead

    heres the story about state department, and as far as the peace corps, it was not in reference to Spain, I didn’t find it at the site. so it was someones account of cultures, not familiar with black people. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j-qXz6j9i5-3p7yym0GFmw6LvWnA

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  • Gigi Jones

    @rh8onda, Yes, The original painting, “Lady Liberty” is a painting of the woman who was the model for the world famous “Statue of Liberty” in NY Harbor. Because they still teach art classes in Europe, most of the people there will know the story behind this image on the magazine when they see it. But the “average Amurikan”? Well, just think how mad some would be if they knew the model for the Statue of Liberty was a black woman?! Hoo-wha!!! Yep, all they’ll be able to see is a disrespectful depiction of the FLOTUS, which by the way, is what they WANT to see…Art! Frankly, I think the “artist” , #Karine, is a joke – so what? She knows Photoshop?! Big effin’ deal! Hope she doesn’t become rich & famous for this crappy piece!

  • Jen Joyce

    Thanks for your sensible comment! I found myself googling the original artwork and everything that was NOT related to Michelle Obama described it as a celebration of both the abolition of slavery and the feminist movement of the times. Given this context, and the context of the entire series (and the further fact that the original portrait was ground breaking for showing a black person- male or female- as the primary subject) I don’t think there was anything insulting intended at all. Art is in the eye of the beholder and I choose to see this as a tribute to Michelle Obama- as both a strong, beautiful, black woman and an incredibly popular and iconic public figure. I generally wouldn’t be insulted by inclusion in a group that includes the Queen of England!

    If one would like to consider the artist’s statement- “alternative unexpected reality” that allows us to “view famous individuals in a different way”- I would pose this question: Can you imagine that 200 years ago, when this portrait was originally painted, this incredible woman would have been relegated to a mere slave? Could you imagine if that were still the case today? That’s an alternate reality that I’m very glad NOT to be living in. Quite frankly, I think the juxtaposition of First Lady vs Nameless Slave illustrates just how far we have come.

  • D.T.


  • Ahmasi

    Thank you, Val!! Spain and Portugal were the first to traffic in slavery and the denigration of those they enslaved!! Most either don’t know or incorrectly believe that white supremacy is an American ‘trait’; it’s roots are deeply embedded in European mind-set; whenever European have left Europe and wherever they have ‘settled’ they have brought their racism with them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoBear58 Joan Brown

    The above photo is truly offensive and insulting piece of work to First Lady Michelle Obama as a woman and as the current First Lady of the United States of America!! Those fools would not have done something like that if First Lady Obama was white!!…Very disrespectful!!

  • bowler

    Thats a lie this magazine does that or create this just to get known please this is a made up by photo shop.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    they are……

  • truffaut jr

    Racism= ignorance. People are ignorant, therefore racism is part of the human race. Acceptance is the first step. But not MERE acceptance. But once you accept that it is part of our wiring that we have bias towards what we know, then there can be openness and there is a chance that things can change. By shouting ‘whites are vile’ and ‘racism was born in Europe’ you are being equally racist and ignorant and change will not be achieved in that way.
    Test your own bias before replying: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html

  • Veenie

    “- Karine Percheron ( the same worthless so called artist) photoshopped the real Cleopatra using Elizabeth Taylor (Mind you Cleopatra was African and BLACK)”

    How the heck is Cleopatra African and Black? Explain that!

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    *Yawns* Troll harder, dummy!

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    The illustration is based on a 19th century painting of a French slave. There’s nothing “traditional African” about what she’s wearing. Ergo why people are pissed off.

  • mat

    The initial picture by Marie-Guillemine Benoist was meant as a celebration of the abolition of slavery. Why should its adaptation by Percheron-Daniels be viewed as plain racism?

  • albert brooks

    racism in spain stems from ignorance and cultural backwardness. spaniards lived under the political dictatorship of francisco franco from 1939-1975 that is 36 years of forbidding fundamental civic rights including the right to travel out of…
    spain. the result is what you see today nationalism enshrined in ignorance about the world beyond espana. the editors and publishers are unaware of how offensive the portrait is so they proceed to put it up as a spectacle for an ignorant spanish public but let it be said that the issue of race relations on the continent of europe is still largely underdeveloped!!!!!

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  • Marva Allen

    Overreaction…..depends on whose eyes this is seen through….for Black America…I’m sure….I happen to love this painting…..1800…strength, determination never to be ignored….even if the daughter of a slave…..

  • sm

    NOT TRUE, The first family has been criticized by different groups every administration. Also, the cover is BS, it is not OK. Bad taste and should never have been printed. Its not racist, its just bad. I am sick of every time the first family is criticized or shown in bad lighting that it is automatically racist. That would mean every criticized first family was done so because of racism.

  • http://clutchmagazine Jeff Moore

    If you didn’t want the publicity why feature the article. If there was no slight to Michelle intended why do it. If you didn’t want this type of feedback why do it? How come when we African Americans speak out about something we see as negative, its often overshadowed by the word “Overreaction” What if I said that Spaniards are a bunch of “Truchas” or “veve a la mierda. Would you be o.k. with that…hum! Don’t say nothing your overreacting : )

  • Karen

    It should have been her husband on the cover because he acts like a slave to the 1% who donate to his campaigns. His favorite phrase is “the Republicans won’t let me.” In all my life, I have never seen such an impotent President. He did not deliver the change he promised.

  • Karen

    His mother is also descended from slaves. Ancestry.com researched his background and found that his mother is descended from John Punch, the first African man in the USA to be legally enslaved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ti.mi.75470 Ti Mi

    No need to write some long response, it’s just straight up, RACIST…

  • Sherise

    @ Andrea let me know the temperature of Hell when you get there…….

  • Franklin Murphy

    I find this depiction somewhat offensive. If the objective were to highlight here slave ancestry and how blacks/African slave descendants have progressed and triumphed, then an illustration showing the realistic condition of her ancestor would have been much better. As stated above this seems more aimed at titillating the loins and mind rather than raising the intellect.

  • LemonNLime

    Please, your ignorance is showing. You know nothing about me nor will you ever. I travel to learn and explore the world. Even with my poor experiences in Spain, I am not stupid enough to think that ALL Spaniard are like that. If I stopped going places just because of fear bad treatment, I would have to live out at sea I couldn’t even come home to the US.

    Btw you and these other ignorant folks who want to use “self-hatred” as an excuse of everything really need to find a better one. You sound just as dumb as the people at the RNC. It is a line people drop when they have nothing left intelligent to add to a conversation so rather than shut up, they continue with that nonsense.

    I will continue to explore the world on MY dime, because I am not going to let crappy or stupid people stop me.

  • http://gravatar.com/thesistersource Sister Sourc

    This photo and all of the other racial vitriol being heaped upon the Obamas during this election season suggests to me that we (African Americans) MUST come together. Alone we are weaker, but together we are stronger. The Obamas, and other brothers and sisters in high profile positions, need our support like never before. Let’s not be stingy in our support and defense of their honor and courage in light of some clearly very difficult circumstances.

  • Reli

    pain’t her with a broken leg or what so ever, SHE IS THE FIRST LADY.

  • Brooke

    If this is in fact a serious question, I will answer it. Cleopatra’s mother was Egyptian (note Egyptians were black back then unlike the Arab domination since the late 1800) while her father was of the decadent of Alexander the great. It’s known in both Egyptian and Greek studies that she was considered a Nubian because her skin was darker than the Greecian and Romans at that time. If you look back to Greecian & Roman studies and do a bit of research, you’ll be surprised to learn that they were brown skin people. Only after the Whiteman’s escape from the caves is when the images of both the Greecian and Roman history was altered to resemble that of Caucasians. Please google Cleopatra and read a little.

    Good day!

  • iTeach

    I could be wrong, but aren’t all of the people in the series dead…except the Obamas? I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

  • paul


    who said

    “It should have been her husband on the cover because he acts like a slave to the 1% who donate to his campaigns. His favorite phrase is “the Republicans won’t let me.” In all my life, I have never seen such an impotent President. He did not deliver the change he promised.”




    re. Mrs Obama

    not offended by this composite, seen far worse and there’s nothing special about Michelle Obama that makes her or her image an untouchable by the hand of arstistic license.

    and lastly -

    there is absolutely nothing wrong with having one’s face superimposed onto the face of a 19th century African woman, regardless if said woman was enslaved, free, or charged hourly.

  • http://Clutch Jeannett

    What magazine and what were they really saying that would bring decedent and honesty back to a beautiful Lady who no matter what race always tried to keep everything up front!!!she didn’t pretend or fabricate but excellent to show it could be accomplish.

  • omfg

    @krista noone

    the problem is that most/too many white people would have no problems with this image.

    hard to argue you’re not racist when you perpetuate and allow racism to exist everywhere.

    bottomline – if white people had issues with the way things were set up, these issues wouldn’t exist. they do because white people see no problem with what they do and how they think.

  • omfg

    @ david lister

    coming on a site like this to express your inane drivel is completely pointless. we do not fall for the idiocy of your lies or your deception. k?

  • omfg

    how is it racist to think white people are racist? why do white people think they are so good, like saints? i don’t get this line of thinking.

  • omfg

    you are kray you know. black people know what we experience and see and feel on a daily basis. and it is often racism. we are not dumb or delusional in that way.

    lmao at a link to a test. are you kidding?

  • [email protected]

    Having been to several European countries now, I can assure you that there is a certain ignorance of what is acceptable and what is not. It is like the continent (except for the UK) is stuck in a time warp. A quiz programme on Belgian television a few years ago asked participants for the ‘technical term’ for someone ‘like Obama born of a ‘Neger’ and a ‘white person’ . The mind boggles!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/geertvdd geertvdd

    I personally believe that the main issue here is that most people, including the author of this article, automatically presume the cover to be insulting and racist. I really wonder why; would one make a cover with the face of a caucasian looking first lady and a painting, no one would make this remark. Also, it is absolutely wrong to say that the painting that served as the basic ingredient for this cover displayed a slave, on the contrary. A little bit of decent research before writing an article would serve the truth better than wild accusations.
    ‘Bad taste’ is of course something open for discussion, but I have seen far more insulting covers than this one but without the controverse that has been caused by the picture of Michelle Obama. Out of all people commenting here, how many do you think have even read the article?

  • http://gravatar.com/geertvdd geertvdd

    I can only hope that one day you will realize that your comment is far more racist than the picture you are commenting …

  • echidiime

    Yeah, iTeach – I was thinking the same thing too. Initially, I was thinking – oh, it’s just part of a series, until I realised that wow, the Obamas are the only living famous people in this series. Let them try such nonsense with the current Queen of England, or with Nancy Reagan, or perhaps the Pope. The artist knew what she was doing – she wanted publicity/notoriety which is why she picked on a group that would bark but not bite.
    Honestly, this is getting very very very frustrating.

  • Peter

    The reactions on this forum resemble those in Pakistan and Iran after someone pointed out that in fareaway Denmark a cartoon was drawn depicting Mohammed. Not that they speak or read Spanish, not that they know the magazine, actually read the article or know the background of the painting. All in the eye of the beholder. It says more about the semi-hysterical approach of racial and sexual issues in the US than anything else.
    And @ Mrs Unigwe: 30 aug: Europe a “time-warp” ?? Don’t make me laugh.

  • K. Slater

    Whether it’s racist or not, why is the image still on Clutch’s front page? That’s the First Lady of the United States being depicted in way that is disrespectful and salacious. It’s difficult not to accuse Clutch of click-whoring.

  • Leonard Smalls

    Interesting comment; however, allow me to add the following:

    i) I am surprised that others are surprised;

    ii) how is this particular insult any different from their prior insults; and

    iii) what is the political function of illustrating the First Lady is such a manner.

    Leonard just chalks it up to the Spaniards still holding a grudge about their being ruled by Coloreds for well over 5 centuries. Be not mislead, let the Spaniards lament about their past as we Coloreds focus on improving our power differential.

    Cary on.

  • Hilary Robinson

    This is the original painting. Painted in1800 by a woman, Marie Guillemine Benoist. This was about 6 years after slavery was abolished in France (and two years before Napoleon re-introduced it). No-one knows the name of the woman in the painting any more, though it seems she came from the Antilles to France with Marie-Guillemine’s brother in law. The colours are political – the red white and blue of the french flag – this was just after the French revolution 1787-1799. The head scarf was worn by the french revolutionaries and was known as a Liberty Bonnet, or the Phrygian Cap – it was originally worn by the freed slaves of ancient Rome. So for the people who saw this painting when it was painted, it would be a symbol of emancipation, the end of slavery, and revolution. Today, though, for this magazine to do this, is disrespectful and terrible, because that image will not be understood in the same way.

  • Jean Hewlett

    Nudity is a big taboo in most of the United States, particularly among the fundamentalist religious groups. Once this image gets noticed over here, I’m guessing it will be forwarded around the Internet by wingnuts who will claim she actually posed for nude photos. It will be used against her husband in the coming election.

  • es

    First of all, a “true” artist only creates original, authentic compositions. That is why they call it “art.” Not everyone can be an artist. Only a “true” artists possess such unique skills. To infringe, copy, or even steal original content from another proven artist does not render you as an artist, regardless of the b.s.-laden theories given to justify such garbage.

    Secondly, anyone who has seen First Lady Michelle Obama in person knows that she is all that!…A mother; a professional; well-educated; sophisticated; and a “down-to-earth” and amiable individual. Her professional stature in Chicago preceded her current role as First Lady of the United States. Even now, she continues to provide leadership with many engaging programs that bring out the best in people.

    Lastly, in this climate of heightened racism, with all of the relative events that are happening across the globe and leading up to the re-election of President Obama, there is no doubt in my mind that such tasteless, unprofessional and artless attempts by pseudo-artists and propagandists, such as Karine Percehron-Daniels, is nothing more than a underhanded strike at the personal character, history and culture of Black people. We know our history, but better yet, we also know the history of people who classify themselves as “white” and the psychological baggage inherent within such offensive and racist actions.

  • es

    Black people were the “original” Europeans. Maybe that’s why there are so many attacks against us, literally and figuratively. Check out the website http://www.realhistoryww.com. It will open your eyes to explain why such unfortunate and disrespectful actions occur.

  • Anna

    For all those who do not think that this is racist or disrespectful, I have a question: When is the artist coming out with a painting of the Spanish Queen or her daughter in law in the nude. A semi nude of one of them jabbing a few spears into a bull might be provoking enough to satisfy the artist.

    Face it the Spanish have no clue of being pc. Just before the Beijing Olympics didn’t one of the Spanish teams pose for a picture in which their eyes were made to look ‘chinese’? There was a furore about that too.

  • http://gravatar.com/smitthy3 smitthy3

    While, ethically I don’t think this painting was a good choice for the cover of the magazine, I have a different take on the art and as used w/ context of the article.

    I think the image was a poor choice, b/c most of us are going to see the image at face value, and it is obvious at face value, the reaction is.. insulted. I suspect there is a context or conversation that is lost. There might have been an editorial gamble, that perhaps afterward.. a discussion ensue, and some publicity.

    The original painting this was based upon, was by a French feminist painter and was known as a Symbol of Emancipation of the black woman. There is also the familiar painting by Delacroix of Lady Liberty, bare breasted. My internal thoughts on this representation are as follows:
    Michelle O. is a complex, accomplished female… who is also First Lady of the U.S., who is also a black woman, and she.. by virtue of her status IS a symbol and an enigma. And I think this painting juxtaposes the idea that Michelle is an individual and of necessity, a symbol.. because she is not just First Lady, but our first Black First Lady. Our shared American experience, is our past and present.. and that civil rights (and womens’ rights) have come a long way.. race and perceptions and discussion about race exist.

  • http://gravatar.com/smitthy3 smitthy3

    es, I’m only speaking here to your assessment about originality and art. You would do well to take an art history class. Painters, Writers and Musicians alike pay homage to other artists’ works… rework them, reference them and build upon the collective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Musiksouljah Jaymes K-zo

    So what are black people doing to fuel the ego of these fools? They go about calling themselves niggas and all that. How won’t these incest loving f**kers continue to insult our existence???

  • http://www.facebook.com/Musiksouljah Jaymes K-zo

    How come you can’t see the relevance of rappers in this case? I bet if I was a white rapper and i call u a nigga, u will probably fix me a grilled chicken.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Musiksouljah Jaymes K-zo

    Same here in France and in Holland. They are all the same incest loving racists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Musiksouljah Jaymes K-zo

    Because she doesn’t have a pretty titties

  • http://gravatar.com/smitthy3 smitthy3

    Jeff… while I agree with you as to “Why do it”, I DO think that was an Editorial ‘Fail’ to run with the image. However from the magazine’s perspective, consider the publicity and the conversation the piece has gotten and the conversation now occurring. Before you think I am just that cynical…

    I actually do believe the painting itself has a story and context, and the meaning was intended to be positive. I cautiously suggest that “you’re over-reacting”.. SAVE THST, because there are indeed real stories and depictions in the media to be outraged about. Scratch the surface first, and try to figure out where people are coming from, because we Americans are always on the edge about something, and frequently art is misunderstood.. (and meant to push envelopes) be it poetry, lyrics or paintings. Satire is another often misunderstood media.

  • http://gravatar.com/smitthy3 smitthy3

    **Correction… meant to say “SAVE THAT”…Also, in hind-sight “over reacting” is not the accurate term, but rather “knee jerk reaction” to your first impression.

  • Pseudonym

    I honestly saw it as saying, “from the horrible roots of slavery, black Americans have risen through the ranks to become leaders of the country” in a celebratory manner. Kinda like, it was a struggle, but they made it! and kinda shows that she’s not one of those “different kind of black people,” how tokens are usually regarded.

  • Pseudonym

    I know tons of black people who have been to Spain with no problem. Have fun on your trip.

  • http://www.mataweb.com gianlucadagostino

    It s absolutely incredible reading these comments here. Despite the fact that the image is obviously an intellectual provocation about history and changes, it-s unbelievable how deep the puritan spirit of the Americans. Such a wrong attitude is the definitive sign (together with the topless ban on US beaches) that despite being the country of freedom and of the first amendment America still has a lot of taboos and a deep sense of prudish that will keep the country far from real social evolution while keeping up with the developing of the higest number of sex offenders and serial killers in the whole planet. America has to get rid of puritanism because puritanism is what keep America isolated from the rest of the Western world.

  • http://www.mataweb.com gianlucadagostino

    I have read a number of African American blogs where the majority of the posts consider the portrait of Michelle Obama by the Spanish Magazine ”Fuera de Serie” as ”outrageous” and even ”racist”!!!! This is why it is absolutely crucial for President Obama to raise the quality standards of public education, because we have to teach young Americans what freedom of expression means and mostly we need to abolish ignorance and bigotry. America still at today is affected by enormous sexual taboos which find their roots in the Puritanism of the Pilgrim Fathers. Otherwise we might find the future society still in a condition of slavery. Just think to the fact that in America breastfeeding is forbidden as like as going topless to the beach!!!!! No surprise America is the number one birthplace of sexual offenders and serial killers.

    The portrait of the First Lady is the obvious remake of the famouse ”Portrait d’une négresse” by Marie-Guillemine Benoistwas re made by Karine Percheron-Daniels who has an unprecedented track record of nude portrait of high society members. In her works may be clearly seen the breast of Michelle Obama, the one of Princess Diana of Wales and a piece of buttock of Isabel II, so the African American community should just relax because there is not just Michelle Obama s breast on display and most of all African Americans have to get used to what comes with power: satire, something that is the warranty of freedom since power was invented.

  • http://www.mataweb.com gianlucadagostino

    holy words!!!I have read a number of African American blogs where the majority of the posts consider the portrait of Michelle Obama by the Spanish Magazine ”Fuera de Serie” as ”outrageous” and even ”racist”!!!! This is why it is absolutely crucial for President Obama to raise the quality standards of public education, because we have to teach young Americans what freedom of expression means and mostly we need to abolish ignorance and bigotry. America still at today is affected by enormous sexual taboos which find their roots in the Puritanism of the Pilgrim Fathers. Otherwise we might find the future society still in a condition of slavery. Just think to the fact that in America breastfeeding is forbidden as like as going topless to the beach!!!!! No surprise America is the number one birthplace of sexual offenders and serial killers.

    The portrait of the First Lady is the obvious remake of the famouse ”Portrait d’une négresse” by Marie-Guillemine Benoistwas re made by Karine Percheron-Daniels who has an unprecedented track record of nude portrait of high society members. In her works may be clearly seen the breast of Michelle Obama, the one of Princess Diana of Wales and a piece of buttock of Isabel II, so the African American community should just relax because there is not just Michelle Obama s breast on display and most of all African Americans have to get used to what comes with power: satire, something that is the warranty of freedom since power was invented.

  • http://gravatar.com/zenobyte zenobyte

    Well in fact two years ago a popular magazine put in frontpage the Prince and the Princess, the futures kings of Spain fucking at doggy style, so? what’s the problem?. The people from the USA seems to live in a bubble outside the real world, except for showing violence, that’s perfectly ok…

  • http://gravatar.com/smitthy3 smitthy3

    Excellent commentary! The more I think about this ‘outrage’ the more ridiculous and unfortunate I think it is. Add to that call for “Education” — some Art History lessons. Lastly, I see a big contributing factor to this drama is the (American) media spin… they just love to get people upset, and slant such articles in a way that encourages emotion vs. thinking. Everyone should Google more (responsibly), and assume less.

  • oye

    This is one of the result of freedom of speech, while we all welcome freedom of speech, we also know the damaging effect it can have if not checked/controlled. My question is this; what gives someone the right to insult, humiliate or even dehumanize another and even publish it? where do you draw the line between what is right or what is wrong? don’t successful people have right too?If someone has an inner challenge, must they force it on others, hiding behind ‘freedom of speech’. If you have inappropriate thoughts or inner issues, you should consider getter help and not try to spreed your thoughts and recruit disciples. However, it is said that ‘a king is not a king unless he/she has followers’, hence their need to recruit others like the,

    My thought on the above is that, these people need help, unfortunately nobody is able to, or even ready to help them as every body have their own issues to deal with and the world honestly today is loosing grasp of what is wrong or right, acceptable and not acceptable behaviour. So we make laws and have no way of controller the damage as a result.

  • Harriet

    It sounds like the original artwork, when viewed as part of the series as the artist intended, is a non-racist, very interesting piece, but when isolated as a magazine cover it’s horrible. Context is crucial. In this context, this image is all wrong.

  • Keiysha

    would spain have portrayed Mrs Bush or Mrs Reagan with their titties hanging out? I do not believe so. I dont care about how Spain is used to portraying women in their art or that it is meant to be a part of an art series…all of those comments explaining (defending in my book) the significance of this portrayal of our beautiful First Lady fall on deaf ears. This portrayal is downright wrong and disrespectful. It is racist and ignorant. The real definition of “nigger” is ignorant. With all the ignorant “majority” races who are the real “niggers”? I cannot stand it when people try to explain away the stupidity of racists. The question is “is it right or wrong?” and it is damn wrong. Stupid wrong. Ignorantly wrong. And she actually hopes that Michelle would see this…what does she want, a presidential beat down? This is absolutely crazy. I am not astounded that racism is still this blatant. What I am astounded by is that they did this to an American Presidents’ wife black or white. I know that it is part of the media’s job to talk shit about Presidents and presidential nominees but to do this is crossing the damn line. We have not been (legal) slaves since the 1864 and it is a damn shame that people cannot move beyond that point. Well, I guess when you rule a world for 5 centuries people become a little sore and hold grudges. That is probably the same reason why no country will apologize, make reparations or admit to slavery. I seriously dont want the mule but I would love to not be fucked with by the government when I acquire my 40 acres.

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  • hey

    Queen Elisabeth ,the actual queen of England is portrayed nude in the series of painting done by this person. I ‘m just saying

  • hey

    The Queeen of England Elizabeth is naked in the series of paintings

  • truffaut jr

    Where did i say that racism doesn’t exist? I experience it on a daily basis and i accept it as being ignorance. I am not saying we should just accept it. We should fight it. But not by stooping down to the racist level and being racist. But i dare you to do that test…it is quite illuminating.

  • http://gravatar.com/lolagreenport Lola Greenport

    What do I pick to translate it? Thanks..

  • http://gravatar.com/lolagreenport Lola Greenport

    She is the Queen of England and probably was a willing participant. There is a total difference here. If Michelle O. was a WILLING participant then no it wouldn’t be racist but art.

  • La Morenita

    @Jules I’ve lived in Spain and Latin America as an African American and I did not have problems with racism in either place. I was always treated as any other person, and in fact, many Spaniards made positive comments about my complexion and “exotic” appearance. Additionally, I met my husband, who is Spanish, while living there. His family and friends accepted me without question and race was never an issue.

    However, I will say that there is a lot of ignorance regarding race, perhaps due to lack of diversity in Spain (although not an excuse in my opinion, we live in a diverse world so people should educate themselves). I think there is a big difference between racism and ignorance.

    That being said, the way race is addressed in Spanish and Latin cultures is VERY different from how it is addressed in the U.S. and it takes some getting used to. I felt uncomfortable at first with the attention given to my race and being called “morena” (essentially, a person of color) on a daily basis. However, I realized that this was not done maliciously and that for them, describing a person as morena is describing a natural part of them (their skin) and is akin to using other physical descriptors like rubia (blonde).

    These are just my experiences. The ignorance can be tiring and frustrating. But you shouldn’t miss out on an incredible experience because Spain is a beautiful country with a rich culture and fascinating history. Hope this helps.

  • Sarah

    This picture is disgusting, how dare you place President wife Michelle in such a unflattering image, she is a devoted wife mother and a very respectable lady, you should be ashamed.

  • Brook

    The fact that you are going around in the African American form to check how we feel about this and the need you feel like validating our feelings is crazy. From the looks f your image and nick, you seem Hispanic/Latino so remember to stay on your lane.

    This has nothing to do with self expression and I have seen the painting of Diana and she wasn’t portrayed in the same way as The First Lady of US. It was a tasteful nude image. Secondly, racism is alive and well so this was more degrading than empowering. Third, don’t try to appeal to my emotion using twisted logic. Lastly, I’m not African American and I find it offensive as a black person.

    Bloody Rubish!

  • South Texan

    The photo appears to be photo shopped, and yes it was a slap in the face and is purely racist.

  • http://clutchmagonline.com gid tanner

    Breasts sell magazines but please do not show Mrs. Regan or Mrs. Bush .

  • mofogie

    Wow people need an art history lesson…
    “Liberty LEading the People”

    depicts a topless woman inspiring freedom.

    The painting of Michelle is one of reverence: showing how she came from an oppressed line of people, and rose to the top, a true symbol of freedom.

    There is nothing insulting about this picture, only prudish people associating nudity with sin and immorality.

  • Fran H

    Too bad the First Lady can’t sue them.

  • http://gravatar.com/skubaduk84 skubaduk84

    Who cares ?

  • http://none linda monroe-Lewis

    this is one of the most bias – jimcrow information that i have viewed read or seen in 2012 and to disgrace and or it appear to resemble the FIRST LADY in which i know its not her hatred is a dangeous thing and can be a disease and mointering this president election with the voting ids new laws its a disgrace in this time we have one of the greatest presidents that ever were and i feel he will go down in history as surch he have made history already by being the first black president and i want to add by being a veteran of the armed forces he have made life a little better for veterans also the forgotton veterans the vietnam era president barrack obama

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronjayaz Ronald Mcloughlin

    Since “Adam & Eve” the Creator of Ever Who the human being has been a masterpiece, a work of art only desecrated by human error. The creation of “race” was “man’s” first error, Notice how sexist our language is. Our First Lady, depicted as a “slave,” proves how glamorous the human body was/is/will be from the beginning to deny the right of anyone to own another human being.


    Linda monroe-lewis running for us congress 2014

  • Pingback: Michelle Obama Topless On Spanish Magazine « 1059 SUNNY FM

  • james edwrad cooper 3rd

    is that really her.



  • Mitt_Romen_Noodles

    I like it, you see her body wrapped in the american flag.

    I thought it was a “mother of our country” type piece.

    Then I read yall comments and yall think it’s racist.

    I agree to disagree.

  • Jean Kelly-Adams

    I can see your view point, but do you really believe that is her body? Can’t uou se how its been patched up? Her face is lighter than her body! As a person of color I know that your face is always darker tnan your body! Our bodies are always lighter complection than our face! Daa, idiots!

  • K.

    They’re not depicting her just as a “slave” Ronald, but a wench.

  • joe

    mmm you can look at it that way. but unless you read it can judge a book by it’s cover.

  • Cynthia

    As proud as I am to be an African American Women, it saddens me to see this cover of our First Lady improperly drapped in what you think is humor we have suffered so many indignities over the years I’m immuned to it I expect it from our media outlets when it comes to you’re understanding of my beauty quite honestly it is impossible for you to admit such beauty exist. We have another 100 years or more for all your insecurities to wane and become just a blip in the annals of histories. until then we will work hard stay strong and continue moving our nation forward to a better tomorrow. Thank ou or giving me an opportunity to comment.

    A proud American Black Women, who loves high fashion.

  • Sheila Neville

    In truth, yes our ancestors were slaves. Because of them, we are here to have an African American First Lady. I’m sure Michelle did not pose for thid cover, but I would tell the magazine the did this, “Thanks for giving tribute to my people from the pass. I am proud of the way that they made do with what was given to them. But remember this, we did not ask to become slaves. There was a race of people that were ignorant about people of color.
    Sheila Neville

  • Oz

    Boycott the arrogant(sp) fools!

  • http://www.facebook.com/monica.joga Monica Joga

    I think its very rude and disrespectful to our 1st Lady

  • http://yahoo Michael

    This is fear of a Black women’s strength and accomplishments through diligent hard work and great substance in character. The mass media love to deface and depict black women as either angry, aggressive, permissive, etc, etc, which is a stereotypical analysis. I am a white man married to a black women who is successful, loving, compassionate and just gorgeous. Most black women are accomplished with the most endearing qualities born to a natural woman. White society love to destroy what they, fear, envy, desire and cannot control, buy or sale.

  • Pingback: Michelle Obama On The Cover Of A Spanish Magazine As A Slave | Zona de Sabor

  • Cudjoe

    Our ancestors were not slaves as God made no such thing. They were enslaved by unevolved people. In the words I put in Michelle Obama’s mouth “Kiss my voluptuous black ass, in your dreams. Those days are over”.

  • lawrence

    this CLEARLY is NOT the first lady!!!!! i think its wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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