Malia Obama selfie

So apparently that Malia Obama selfie broke the internet and sent folks into quite the tizzy, questioning the first daughter’s musical and fashion choices, her parents’ ability to limit their teen’s social media presence, even whether the leak proves President Obama can not shelter his family from the perils of social media and therefore can’t protect the country.

And this mom of a 15-year-old and 12-year-old is straight like, um, really? Have any of these naysayers and critics ever seen teens on Twitter? Seriously, when was the last time any of them ventured onto the Facebook page or Instagram account of a typical 16-year-old American?

Trust: some of the pictures, language and worse, backward, racist and downright stupid posts from these knuckleheads will singe your eyeballs and make you question humanity. Frankly, I use all that foolishness I see on social media as a teaching tool for my daughters on what not to do when posting on Instagram, one of only three social media sites they’re authorized to use (Pinterest and SnapChat are the other two).

Honestly, I’m not seeing the big whoop over the Malia Obama selfie. She’s not half naked; she’s wearing a T-shirt, a ponytail and an absolutely beautiful bare face. She’s not saying anything inappropriate. In fact, she’s not saying anything at all: Malia’s picture showed up on the Instagram page of the underground hip hop collective Pro Era, with a plea to its followers to get like Malia and cop a t-shirt. Hell, there’s no proof that the picture is, indeed, a selfie—particularly considering both of her hands are in the shot and she looks more mid-sentence than mid-pose. I’m not convinced she even knew the picture was being taken, much less posted on someone else’s social media site.

Also, she’s not falling down pissy drunk in some bar, embarrassing herself and her parents. *I’m looking at you, Bush twins.*

In other words, I’m throwing mad respect to Malia for honoring her parents wishes that she not be all over the internet, and to Michelle and Barack, too, who’ve done a fine job of keeping their teen daughters off these e-streets at a time where it seems practically every American kid has a cellphone and a social media account and no behavior when it comes to using either. Frankly, I get kind of excited about these little glimpses into who Malia and Sasha are, particularly since the media shield around them is so very thick. I want to see what they’re wearing, know what books they’re reading and what they’re listening to, what they consider fun, because I’m guessing that their positive influence would rub off on at least some of America’s children. Imagine if an Instagram pic of Malia reading “Brown Girl Dreaming” leaked somewhere. Or Sasha was off enjoying a Nikki Giovanni poem, or a song or two by artists truly saying something? I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t be the better for it—particularly our kids.

What I’m saying is, leave Malia alone already. That girl and her parents are pretty alright in my book.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Agreed. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. She likes rap music. So flippin’ what? I think most teens like rap music (and many adults–my husband included). And it’s one picture…now if there was an onslaught of negative pictures of her, then yeah, I could see it being a problem for a myriad of reasons, but people need to CTFD. They both seem like really good kids, and the Pres and First Lady seem like they are doing a good job raising them.

  2. Exactly. These girls always seem so normal which amazes me. It’s hard enough to raise grounded children in the real world, let alone in the transparent bubble of the presidency.

  3. its cus shes gorgeous and mainstream america cant handle, I feel sorry for her daddy what is he gonna do. they need to shield her from trolls.

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