Former President Barack Obama recently visited Philadelphia (you know, the place where bad things happen, according to Donald Trump). During his visit, Obama not only met with local politicians but he singled out one Black and openly gay politician as a sign of change.
Specifically, the moment happened on Wednesday, October 21. Barack Obama visited Philadelphia for both a drive-in speech and a roundtable campaign event in promotion of the Joe Biden campaign. During the latter events, Barack Obama spoke with some of Philadelphia’s Black community members. Among the group was State representative Malcolm Kenyatta. After observing Kenyatta, former President Barack Obama noted that change is happening. After all, a politician styling dreadlocks, like Kenyatta does with both flair and humility, was previously unthinkable.
“If you don’t think things have changed, having a brother in the state legislature with that haircut, that is a change, that looks sharp, but I’m just saying, man, you didn’t see that 20 years ago,” Obama told the State Rep.
Kenyatta then responded with, “My hairstylist thanks you.” Kenyatta also joked that she’ll later clip the moment for a future endorsement.
But according to the Advocate, that wasn’t the end of the conversation. Kenyatta then asked Obama a question about hope.
“When you ran for office, your slogan, hope, and change,” Kenyatta pointed out. “The last couple of years have been a lot of sadness and destruction. What still gives you hope?”
Obama then replied, “Hope is not blind optimism. Hope is not ignoring problems. Hope is believing, in the face of difficulty, that we can overcome and get a better world. Hope is looking squarely at our challenges and our shortcomings and saying, ‘Despite that, I think through effort and will and community, we can make things better.’”
He added, “And so, I’ve never lost hope over these last four years. I’ve been mad, I’ve been frustrated, but I haven’t lost hope.”
But Kenyatta’s hair is not his only contribution to society. In 2018, Malcolm Kenyatta was elected into office along with over 150 other LGBTQ federal, state, and local candidates across the United States of America. The only gay politician has since been a vocal advocate for voter rights, given a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in August, and openly displayed his relationship with his fiancé Dr. Matt Miller. The latter includes his viral proposal to Miller back in July.
But in his constant fighting during these past two years, Kenyatta has recognized the difficulty of keeping hope aflame. But maybe Barack Obama’s words helped to keep Malcolm Kenyatta’s hopes and political drive alive.
SOURCE: INSTINCT MAGAZINE