Today, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception in honor of Black History Month.

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“You know it’s Black History Month when you hear someone say, ‘Haay Michelle! Girl, you look so good!’” Obama joked. “He’s alright,” the First Lady added, before the President launched into a brief speech. “African-American culture has profoundly shaped American culture, in music and art, literature and sports,” he said, thanking the “countless nameless heroes who marched for equality and justice.”

Earlier today, a top Black Lives Matter activist “respectfully declined” to meet with President Obama and a range of civil rights leaders at an event directly prior to the reception, which was billed as a discussion of criminal justice reform and other issues. Aislinn Pulley wrote in an op-ed for Truth-Out that she’d thought it wouldn’t be a “genuine exchange”:

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Instead, what was arranged was basically a photo opportunity and a 90-second sound bite for the president. I could not, with any integrity, participate in such a sham that would only serve to legitimize the false narrative that the government is working to end police brutality and the institutional racism that fuels it.


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

Image via screenshot.