Sorry, nothing in cart.
Former first lady shows support for Democrats and little-known African American jeweller
Throughout Michelle Obama’s powerful 18-minute virtual Democratic national convention speech one message was clear: V-O-T-E, spelled out not just through her evisceration of Donald Trump but also by the letters of her necklace.
“Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris like our lives depend on it,” Obama said, while wearing a gold necklace that quickly went viral, and became a top US Google search term during the last hour of the convention.
This piece was from ByChari, a small Los Angeles-based jewellery company owned by Chari Cuthbert, who is African American.
Obama’s decision to promote Cuthbert echoes a trend seen also on the recent cover of British Vogue, in which 40 activists wore clothes largely by BAME designers, for influential people and organisations to seek out small black-owned businesses to promote, rather than defaulting to the largely white-run conglomerates that dominate the fashion industry.
Obama is a master of using her clothes to create a visual message, and in promoting marginalised and under-the-radar businesses with her style choices.
Cuthbert, who launched ByChari in 2012 and recently spoke to Time magazine about the challenges of running her business during the pandemic, tweeted on Monday night that she was “beyond honoured and humbled” that Obama wore her necklace.
I never imagined that something I’m so passionate about could mean so much to so many! The response has been incredible and I am beyond honored and humbled that @michelleobama wore my design. pic.twitter.com/rbkEZ7HUei
— BYCHARI (@ByChari) August 18, 2020
The necklace also echoed Bruce Davidson’s photograph from the Selma March, in which the word “Vote” was written on the forehead of a civil rights protester.
Barack Obama spoke movingly about Selma in his eulogy of John Lewis in July, in which he praised the Democratic congressman’s perseverance and spoke out against the dangerous forces that continued to discourage voting.
The former first lady expanded on these themes on Monday night, urging the public to request mail-in ballots and ensure their friends and family did the same, and go out in person.
“We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown-bag dinner, and maybe breakfast too, because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to,” she said.
The conversation on race …
… is just getting started. People all across the world have taken a stand against police violence and racism, and the Guardian stands in solidarity with the struggle for truth, humanity and justice. We believe that our role is to present the facts, report on events first-hand, and provide an open, inclusive platform for the voices of ethnic minorities to be heard by millions.
2020 has clearly shown us that police brutality unfairly targets black people, and we’ve witnessed the racial inequalities of Covid-19 – from the scale of the loss of life, to the catastrophic economic consequences for individuals and businesses. We’re committed to helping tell the stories that need to be told, from people who deserve to be listened to. With your support, we can intensify our ambitions.
You’ve read 11 articles in the last eleven months. And you’re not alone; millions are flocking to the Guardian for quality news every day. We believe everyone deserves access to factual information, and analysis that has authority and integrity. That’s why, unlike many others, we made a choice: to keep Guardian reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.
As an open, independent news organisation we investigate, interrogate and expose the actions of those in power, without fear. With no shareholders or billionaire owner, our journalism is free from political and commercial bias – this makes us different. We can give a voice to the oppressed and neglected, and stand in solidarity with those who are calling for a fairer future. With your help we can make a difference.
We’re determined to provide journalism that helps each of us better understand the world, and take actions that challenge, unite, and inspire change – in times of crisis and beyond. Our work would not be possible without our readers, who now support our work from 180 countries around the world.