On Monday, Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. And as with anything involving an even remotely visual component, the internet made some memes.
Some were bad. Some were fine. None were even close to as good as the portraits. But Twitter will tweet, and tweet it did.
Some memers, who seem to remember someone named “Sean Spicer,” compared Barack’s portrait to the infamous tale of Spicer evading reporters “near” (not in!) the bushes. Honestly, this is a deeply unfair comparison that Barack and Wiley do not deserve, but where there are bushes, there are memes. For this we can thank Homer Simpson.
A few others noticed similarities between Barack’s portrait and Beyoncé’s iconic maternity portrait. It’s true that the two look similar aesthetically, but it’s far more likely that Beyoncé was influenced by Wiley’s work, not the other way around.
For the most part, though, people were just really excited. Wiley and Sherald are the first two black artists commissioned for Smithsonian presidential portraits, so the unveiling was a big deal for representation and visibility in the art community.
This week really started with the unveiling of the Obamas official portraits and will end with Black Panther in theaters everywhere.
What a time.
— Sylvia Obell (@SylviaObell) February 12, 2018
Can we talk about how epic The Obama’s official portraits are but also how much they have given a boost to artists in all forms of media and not because they happen to be black but specifically because they are. Legends. pic.twitter.com/jMuHN83uDA
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 12, 2018
And it’s always nice to see Barack and Michelle again.