Tag: Barack Obama

Will President Obama bring home the Olympic gold to Sweet Home Chicago?

Many of us living here in Chicago were thrilled to wake up this morning and learn that President Barack Obama confirmed that he will INDEED be making that Air Force One flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, later this week to help his adopted hometown of Chicago secure the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

UrbanTravelGirl readers know I have much love for our American commander-in-chief, as well as for First Lady Michelle and their two adorable daughters Malia and Sasha. I’m beyond proud to have this beautiful black family representing what’s RIGHT about America – its opportunity and its promise. So the fact that the Chicago 2016 Olympic team is counting on Brother Barack as the “closer,” to bring home the Olympic gold to Sweet Home Chicago, is almost too much for this South Side native….

Continue 27 Comments September 28, 2009

Say amen, sister: Get a spiritual boost by visiting houses of worship when traveling overseas

I don’t know about you, but I’m often more psyched about going to church on the road than hitting a bunch of must-see museums and boutiques. Although mornings and I have never been friends, when I’m overseas, I make a point of finding an English-speaking service, whether I need to hop on a subway or bus or use my own two feet to get there. I enjoy the religious aspect of worship but for me, it’s also about experiencing local culture in one of its most authentic and expressive ways….

Continue 6 Comments August 16, 2009

Michael Jackson’s lasting gift to black ‘citizens of the world’

As has everyone I know, I’ve been obsessively tuning into print, TV and Internet coverage of the horribly tragic, sad and untimely death of pop icon Michael Jackson. Back in the day, I was a huge Michael fan (before he morphed into someone unrecognizable). I still love his songs, and have found myself mindlessly humming and singing along with “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “The Lady in My Life,” and the telling “Black or White.”

But being a journalist who’s always searching for the sociological meaning and truth behind current events—and goodness knows this is the biggest global one since Barack Obama was elected president of the United States—I see Michael far beyond the off-the-charts performances, fantastically creative music and videos, and even the eccentricities that defined his later years.

Over the past few days, I’ve heard it stated by everyone from the Rev. Al Sharpton to former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather that Michael Jackson’s most lasting legacy to the world just might be the fact that he was the first African-American artist to achieve true global superstardom without constantly reminding folks he was black. These social critics—and I concur—changed the world by paving the way for global audiences to embrace and accept Chicago Bulls basketball phenom Michael Jordan, multimedia mogul Oprah Winfrey, golf genius Tiger Woods, and President Obama, who has ignited the world’s imagination in a way unlike any politician in my 40-year-old lifetime.

Now you say, what does this have to do with international travel? I say it has EVERYTHING to do with it ….

Continue 2 Comments June 28, 2009

Does ‘traveling while black’ (or brown) help in the nonwhite world?

I’ve had this theory for a long time: While we African-Americans sometimes feel our color can be a pseudo-“liability” here in the States, it certainly can be an asset once we leave our native shores and travel abroad. I was reminded of this last week when President Barack Obama gave his potentially game-changing speech in Egypt.

It was a striking sight to see TV cameras pan across the crowd gathered inside Cairo University to hear him. Most of the faces were some shade of brown, from café au lait to cinnamon to chocolate. From just looking at them, any of ‘em could have been a cousin, aunt or uncle of Obama’s. And while few mainstream news outlets have called it as such, one HUGE reason for our president’s broad worldwide appeal is the fact that he looks like so much of the world….

Continue 4 Comments June 12, 2009

‘Traveling While American’ just got easier….

I don’t know about you, but I was glued to the TV and news Web sites last week, watching President Barack Obama’s (and First Lady Michelle’s) every move as they took Europe by storm. Pride swelled in me—and tears occasionally welled in my eyes—as I saw these smart, strong, self-confident African-Americans from MY South Side of Chicago interact with and YES, dazzle leaders from around the world, including the Queen of England.

How cool was this, to see these two Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the globe’s most important people and pass with flying colors? And how fabulous was it to see the reception they got from “regular folks”—Michelle with those adorable girls in that London school, the president when interacting with thoughtful young people during those town halls in Strasbourg and in Istanbul?

I wish I could have been on the streets of London; of Strasbourg, France; of Prague when the gorgeous First American Couple made their appearances last week. How heartwarming it was to see regular Europeans—and their leaders—wholeheartedly embrace these two who represent the best of what America can be.

Continue 4 Comments April 8, 2009

"Obama: Savior of the world… and America?"

“Obama: Savior of the world… and America?” So read the translation from a recent front-page story on a French publication during my time in Paris, the second half of my solo 40th birthday adventure.

This headline may be taking the “hope” message to an extreme, but what a wonderful time to be an American abroad again.

And what a great time to be an AFRICAN-AMERICAN out in the world.

Since the election of Barack Obama, who’ll be the United States’ first president of acknowledged African descent, folks all over the globe certainly see America in a brand-new light. FINALLY, by electing this black man, we lived up to the platitudes and ideals the nation had been claiming for more than 200 years.

Continue 11 Comments January 14, 2009


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