“Although Michelle Obama received lots of praise for her fashion choices on Inauguration Day, WWD reports that the Black Artists Association did not join the chorus…”


“…Amnau Eele, the founder of the Black Artists Association criticized Michelle Obama for not choosing a garment designed by an African-American. She said, “If you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other black designers do something too?”
“I personally think Michelle looked phenomenal. She picked ensembles that suited her body, were appropriate for the occasion, and modern (Jason Wu just won the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund award). Although I would have liked to see her in an African American design, I fully understand the decisions she made. What do you think?”

34 thoughts on “Intern Candidate Suzy: Not Everyone Loves Michelle Obama’s Fashion”

  1. I would have loved to see Michelle in something by a black designer, but I am not up in arms about it. Contrary to popular opinion Michelle and Barack are not here to single handedly fix every ill or slight in the black community. I am just glad that she chose to represent American designers and I am delighted in how she always mixes high and low price points in her ensembles. I am sure that during Barack’s presidency we will see her showcase black designers’ wares. The bigger question is how many of the masses buy black when it comes to fashion? We as a collective group of people can do more for black designers, than one woman even if she is the First Lady!

  2. I feel their sentiments are a bit out of pocket. yes, I would have also liked to see her in a design by an African american designer, but as the FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, she can’t pick a design by an African American EVERYTIME there is a big event. Obviously the inauguration is the event of all events, but besides picking a design that she may have just liked the best out of all other options, despite race, she may have also wanted to shed light on other ethnic/”minority”designers to increase awareness. Stop criticizing every move she makes, embrace the moment, and give credit where it is due! congrats to Toledo and Wuu. If you’re upset your design didnt get picked, work harder and keep at it! maybe next time;)

  3. I Knew it was just a matter of time. Tsk Tsk!! She & Her husband can not and should not have to please everyone…its so sad how "blacks" do one another!!

  4. Perfectly Me said…”We as a collective group of people can do more for black designers, than one woman even if she is the First Lady!”

    I totally agree. Kimora wore a Kevan Hall creation to the Costume Institute Gala and it was lovely. This is an example of a black designer supporting another black designer. I believe that if more black celebrities wore clothing from black designers, then there would be more successful black designers out there.

  5. I can not believe that-that was why they did not like the gown. I thought it was going to be because they felt it wasn’t the right fit for her or some other reason…but this? I’m actually embarrassed to hear that the people of this organization came out of their face to say such a thing. She has her likes and dislikes, she obviously chose the dress because she LIKED it. Otherwise she would not have worn it.

    I totally agree with “Perfectly Me”…it starts with us.


  6. Ummmm…Why are they trying to make us look bad? It’s a time for celebration, and you mad she didn’t wear a black designer? I honestly did not even think about it. She is the 1st Lady of all America. I thought she was doing well wearing American designers. I hate these crabs in a barrel blacks.

    I really can’t believe there is actual criticism over this issue. Seriously?

  7. Okay, the lemon grass outfit I liked. I think she has the right complexion for that color, perfect. The gown however, I was expecting more bling. She could have worn something like
    Beyonce’s gown. A little more form fitting as she has the height and curves for it. She’s trying to keep things in the more less expensive side being that state of the economy is so screwed. But this is the first lady, I don’t think she realizes how much of a responsiblity that is for fashion. I think she needs a new stylist.

  8. “But this is the first lady, I don’t think she realizes how much of a responsiblity that is for fashion.”

    Her responsibility is to the children, her husband, and her causes. She does and will continue to wear what she likes. While it is nice to steal an idea or two from her NO ONE should DEPEND on the first lady for their fashion. That is not in her job description. Let’s be real.

  9. Mrs. Obama looked great! I am proud of the choices she made, that’s what she wanted to wear and it looked great on her. Anybody that disagrees remember… you are not First Lady she is! She can do whatever she wants! She has plenty of time to wear BLACK designers.. come on everyone needs to get a grip. We have more important things to worry about.

  10. I thought she looked beautiful and quite regal.

    I really want that org to put a sock in it. I don’t hear them complaining when all these black actresses and musicians are parading around in Gucci, Chanel, and Armani. So why make a fuss now? She is the First Lady, not Rihanna. lol

    AND, I remember reading an article in which she said she purposely wears/doesn’t wear certain things because she doesn’t want to overshadow her husband when it’s his moment.

  11. Ugh. Like others have already said, I wasn’t even thinking about the ethnic background of the designers when I saw the First Lady on Inauguration Day. As important as it is to support black business (in this case, designers) the people criticizing her for not wearing a black designer need to understand that we need to embrace other cultures just as much as we won’t others to embrace ours.

    Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the UNITED States of America, not just for black America.

  12. I’m just glad that all the other readers are as thoughtful and logical as I am…these people simply need to SIT DOWN.

  13. My question is…

    Did any of the designers even think to send her a gown? Hell, just sending her one would have gotten their phones ringing.

    Some people really need to shut up. Damm!!! Again, she purchased what she liked. Andre Leon Talley was their the night Obama became President Elect. Did he suggest anyone? I mean really…

  14. Geez Louise . . . are we not all Americans? What does it matter if she wore a Black designer’s garment or not? Who cares? Just because she’s black doesn’t mean that she has to only cater to blacks or consume black merchandise!

    If you don’t like the dress then just don’t like the dress . . . but don’t get your underpants in a bunch over the race of the designers. That’s just petty.

    I am disappointed in this organization for even making that criticism.


    The media and alike need to give michelle some room to breathe!

    I do not remember them mulling over any other first lady since Jackie O. They did not study Laura Bushes’ style. There will be mishaps sometimes because she is human. Just give her credit for actually embracing her own style. That is why I adore her. I see myself in her in the sense that she wears what she wants.


    Why not celebrate diversity by being a black family that will embrace other cultures whether it is in fashion, etc. It would be pretty narrow minded to only wear black designers.

  16. Bsquared86 i totally agree with your sentiment, it should mean something that she even wore something by Minority designers. Or are the obama’s only supposed to be glorified when they advance only the black minority. Seriously to think such intelligent people such as Amnau Eele would spew such nonsense is beyond me. The obamas represent hope for not only black minorities but for other minorities as well, people seriously need to realize that

  17. Ladies, RIGHT ON!

    I don’t see them criticizing Beyonce who is constantly in the spotlight for not wearing a design by a BLACK designer for major events. A lot of times she wears Elie Saab, who is Lebanese.

    I think it was GREAT that Michelle choose Jason Wu; a lesser known MINORITY designer! Did we forget that Barack’s family is multi-racial. His sister is half Asian (Indonesian)…etc!

  18. I love her dress and honestly I care less what nationality the designer is. I loved that she picked a young designer who is up and coming!

  19. In agreeance with most of the opinions already posted, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse.

  20. Michelle Obama presented herself in a very classy and elegant manner, a true First LADY. I love that she wears designers from diverse nationalities because it completely embodies our nation’s make up. Americans come from a vast variety of different backgrounds yet share everyday around each other. Our country is finally taking progressive steps towards equality, obviously or Obama would have never been elected. The Obama’s being in the White House make me proud to be an American again.

  21. I doesn’t matter what the Obamas do they will constantly be criticized. I love Michelle, her style is not my style, but I still think she looked beautiful and she wore her clothes well.

  22. Oh dear….these people must be in Pastor Mannings camp, ready to nit pick. The Obamas are people who do not see colour first and foremost. Secondly they understand black issues and know how to balance them without apologogizing. Thirdly they are in politics on a grand scale, they are under intense scrutiny. These people are whiners and they do not represent the feelings of the majority of the black people. They are instead an embarrassment

  23. blacks wanted a black first family in the white house and you got one.

    amnau eele wants black designers in the black first lady’s closet in the white house.

    what’s difference clowns?

    slaves built the white house and it’ going to be interesting to watch malia and sasha hug the trees on the white house lawn (where those slaves were tied and whipped), in their j.crew clothes while their mother beam down at them with pride in her jason wu dress. let’s see, slaves took the whipping on the white house lawn in 1798 so jason wu could feed his family back in taipei. in 2009.
    makes sense, because everyone has always made tons of money off of black talent and labor, other than blacks.
    sort of how all the resources for the cell phone comes out of africa, but africans in africa have no cell phones.

    can anyone on this blog read?

    amnau eele never said she wanted only black designers in the white house, she said if there’s seven slots, shouldn’t one of those slots go to a legendary designer?
    that means the other six slots go to latino, asian, etc..
    so where’s the problem with her comments?

    amnau eele and all of those designers mentioned in the wwd article never called women bitches and ho’s or black people niggers like jay z and jeezy did in washington, dc.
    how is it more educational foe sasha and malia to meet gangster rappers instead of one of the last living legendary award winning fashion designer?

    Martin Luther King jr. did exactly what amnau eele is doing today, he spoke up and he tried to get his people opportunities, jobs, money, rights and protection and most of your grand parents spoke against him.
    I was there and i remember black people complaining about Rev.King the same way you all are on this blog. .

    most of the non- black designers wouldn’t book a black model for their shows or print ads, but they’ll sell a dress to the black first lady;
    this is not new, because blacks have always supported people that hate them with their hard earned dollars.
    they would have it no other way and it’s the real reason why it took a white woman and a man from africa to give black americans their first black president.
    black americans and black women can’t produce obama, it took the obama family to show them what a family looks like. Michelle could never get a black american man to love and support her the way obama does.
    read essence magazine, a lot of black men don;t really like black women or their children.

    black americans hate themselves and one another, that’s why they love obama, he’s not one of them.
    he doesn’t come out of their pathologies and his mother is white.
    only a mixed black man can calm blacks down and the nation of islam proved that.
    the nation’s leader had a white mother and black father.
    blacks also accept jesus and his mother as being white.
    and any sunday in a black church will show the power of the white jesus and his mother on blacks. their favorite gospel song is “wash me whiter than snow”.
    the other bloggers are right, when they say ms.eele should be careful dealing with these deadly people. blacks will hurt her, they’re very hard on one another. I watch them treat each other like dogs at work everyday and they bend over backwards to be nice to me, because I’m white and It’s scary.

    i read a paper called the final call and this paper said blacks kill all their leaders and black women produce black children that kill other black children.
    the jails and graveyards are filled with their sons and the stupid comments by ignorant black women on this blog proves why.

    I’m going to pray for ms. eele because these maniacs will try and hurt that beautiful black lady for trying to put a few dollars in black designers pockets.
    now i understand why so many black men are always hitting on me, the white girl with the non-weave hair.
    not a problem, with the fine brother walking up to my table here at starbucks, i think i can give the blacks another obama.
    now say thank you black woman.

  24. Folks need to chill on that. Mrs.Obama will be First Lady for a long time, AT LEAST 4years. She will have more formal events than she can shake a stick at. I’m sure she will wear the clothing of a Black designer at least a few times during her tenure w/us. No worries, right?

  25. That’s just NONSENSE to me. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity the designer is, as long as they’re doing their job, that’s all that matters. People are asking too much of the Obamas already. They are not here to choose sides and uplift just the black community, they’re here to uplift everybody and people really need to stop making mountains out of molehills. It’s ridiculous. Both of the gowns she chose were gorgeous and she looked gorgeous in them. Besides, the Obamas believe in diversity and the gowns Mrs. Obama chose to wear are proof of that. Let’s focus on some SERIOUS issues people. Good grief!

  26. Michelle Obama should have included at least one black designer in her inaugural wardrobe. As first lady she has the opportunity/an obligation to represent the talents of ALL AMERICANS, including black designers.

  27. i think that their expectation for her to wear black designers to events is silly and trivial. obviously they are overlooking all that the Obama’s have done and continue to do for ALL communities. this couple is leading our NATION out of debt and showing the world that not all americans subscribe to the our racists past. instead of criticizing Michelle’s fashion choices, how about they go and volunteer at an urban community center or share their knowledge about the fashion industry to a local community college?


  28. Hey, in the end, how many of us actually ‘buy Black’? OK, Rockawear or Sean John, do count, but…we need to start there. As I said on another forum, Amnau Eele should have been much smarter about this:

    1. pull all of the top/upcoming Black designers together
    2. do a show
    3. invite the First Lady
    4. start the discussion.
    5. gotten the credit.

    Dumbest move in history…

  29. I found the real story of what happened to Amnau Eele at WWD.
    After reading the story by Washington Post writer and Huffington Post contributor Joyce Moore,
    I am left wondering if Ms.Eele is sitting at the table ready to prove with her e-mail interviews that she never made those statements, then why is WWD not willing to come to that table and prove she made those comments?
    I called WWD and they said no comments.
    Wolfe Blitzer is asking the same question on CNN, during the "Situation Room's"
    " Black Designers Are Upset With First Lady Michelle Obama" segement.

    What's really tragic about all of this, is that a black woman that simply asked where are the black designers in the first lady's closet at the White house?
    and how do we encourage young black children too aspire to design, if there are no black designers as role models?
    Got lynched by the media and bloggers all over the world, based on a story that was not fact checked in the Bernard Madoff era.
    Did any one of you think maybe WWD saw a way to sell their paper in bad financial times?
    The WWD writer is now famous and WWD sold out both days that Ms. Eele's story ran.
    I called WWD to buy extra copies and I was told they were sold out on both issues of the paper.

    Support of black designers and black design students will provide jobs for people of all colors and maybe the black youth and many black males will be able to get jobs in design and retail, instead of selling drugs or going to jail as an option.
    President Obama's half brother was arrested for selling drugs as a poor black man in a poor African country, support of black designers and all designers in the retail industry can provide jobs for poor people like Mr. Obama all over the world , no matter their skin color.
    Instead of selling drugs , I'd rather see Mr. Obama work for a black designer or consider design as a career instead of drug dealing.
    I am white and I work for a black designer of jewelry, and without his designs , i would have no job and I couldn't pay my rent.
    J, Crew, Tracy Feith and Jason Wu are swimming in orders and cash from the first lady's support, but not black designers..
    No, ms. Eele was right!! Change came on Jan 20, 2009, but not for black designers.

    here's the interviews that i found on the internet:






    I think "The Media Lynching" of Amnau Eele is going to be a large, but very sad story.
    I've learned a lot from this poor woman's sad story.

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