By posting the following, I am neither endorsing nor espousing any cultural, political or religious views. The views expressed are those of the owner of this tattoo. I have made small edits to the statement that Renee sent along with her photos, but it remains, for the most part, in tact. My edits are marked by ellipsis (...). This photo and description represent a landmark moment in United States history. So without further ado, let the bars of "Hail to the Tattoo" begin.
Renee from Brooklyn e-mailed me this very new tattoo:
It was inked by Big Steve at Daredevil Tattoo in Manhattan.
Renee offers a lengthy explanation:
Why an Obama Tattoo?"You don't even know if he will be a good President." "Why would you put a politician's name and face on your body?" "You are going to hell for all those tattoos." "Renee, have u lost your mind?" "Are u f*cking serious?" "Woooooow!" "This is on ULTRA!" "That is a bit much!" "That is HOT!" "Are you insane?" "OMG!" "Good shit!" "That's very nice!" "You're a dumb ass!" "How utterly stupid!" "I love you; U rock!"Those are just some of the comments I read and heard. Some from closest friends; others from total strangers, but most were typical responses. I didn't expect a warm welcome to the idea. Yet, I am not second-guessing my decision because one of the precious gifts we have is freedom of choice. Additionally, it's a permanent tattoo so I better grill it up and eat it because it's here until death do us part.However, I ... did not get this tattoo as a dare, as some proclaimed; or as a way to get press coverage for personal gain. Yet, I am thankful for that which I received because all publicity, whether negative or positive, is good publicity and keeps your name in the mix. I dig being in the mix; always have.Unlike many people, I do exactly what I want to do. There are two kinds of people in this world; those who talk the talk and those who demonstrate the talk. Blame my mother, as this burning desire to walk to the beat of my own drum no matter how extreme to some, stems from her blood which runs free within me. Shout out to my mother (who doesn't have any tattoos, in case you are wondering).For the last ten years, I have demonstrated the talk. Moved to New York as I said I would do at age 12, mingled with celebrities, did some broadcast and touched people with thought-provoking topics; wrote articles that changed perceptions and sparked controversy; been in love and failed with great stories to tell; had my name in magazines and even remain a staple on Internet search engines; been on television (Hey Amanda Lewis); was homeless, but flew out of it like a bat out of hell; held down some decent jobs and even got a better job during a...recession...performed twice in Time Square; had lunch with Secretary of State elect, Hillary Rodham Clinton; modeled when people laughed and said I was too short, too tatted; too fat, too boyish, too awkward; can’t walk in heels; too over the top; and this is only a fraction of the accomplishments.Be it right or wrong, I've seized the moment to aspire to great heights despite the whispers from those who thought they knew what was best for me. If I lived my life based on their theories of what is just and unjust, how would I be able to call myself an individual? Along with that I am passionate on a lot of things; one of which is the state of our country....I have eight tattoos, with the President Obama caricature tribute being the ninth. I made the decision to get this tattoo a while ago but never acted on it. I toyed with the idea in my head and dismissed it as something I wouldn't do. When the inauguration came, I got that feeling again. The same feeling I got when Obama won the democratic nomination. The same feeling I got when Obama won the presidential election. It was a feeling of VICTORY!President Obama didn't win alone; WE WON! We, being our ancestors who endured the brunt of slavery; our youth who have witnessed what was once said to be impossible; people everywhere of all shades of pigmentation who believed in the dream of equality and democracy; Rosa Parks who sat down and refused to comply; the joy in my grandmother's voice; and the gleam in the eyes of many. Now that I think of it, I can't remember a time I have been so in awe, so proud to stand up and support a movement; because President Barack Obama is a movement. Whether you acknowledge it or not, it is evident.
From the chants of "Obama" all across Washington, D.C. to they dirt roads of Kenya, people believed! I believe! We believe! And though my mother, father, and sister attended the inauguration, as I watched on a television at my job in New York, my feet stuck in one place, mouth open in amazement; I've never seen anything so beautiful and powerful. Something gripped my soul and hollered, "YES WE DID!"
When we got up...to cast our ballots on Election Day, you could feel the power then. It was in some ways indescribable. I felt like I was voting for family. The interactions with President Obama and his family; Michelle's glow of intelligence and nurturing to her children; the innocence and curiosity of Sasha and Malia...
I was moved; simple and plain. I remained moved and encouraged. Others would agree with me but still say, "Did you really have to get a tattoo?" Yes! Every tattoo I've gotten has meaning and a greater significance. Some people express themselves through conversation, the arts, clothing, etc. I chose to document history by inking it on my arm as a constant reminder that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Of course I knew this before President Obama was elected but his perseverance and the drive of the American people made it full circle for me. When I think back to my childhood and an incident that occurred in Florida, when my aunt and I went fishing, I know the dream has been fulfilled.We were traveling to the 7 mile bridge that leads to Key West to go fishing. We stopped at a small convenience store because we both needed to go to the bathroom. As a Caucasian man left the single stall bathroom he carried a key and handed it to the older Caucasian woman behind the counter. When my aunt asked to retrieve the key so we could use the restroom, she informed her that they didn’t have a bathroom. When my aunt pointed to where the sign read, "rest room,” the lady then said it was out of order. But we just saw a man leave from it who even said "thank you" upon exiting the store. This was the first time in my life I felt so insecure about my skin color. I never want ANYONE to feel that way. I never want to feel as though I would be denied anything because I am a brown. This happened in 1992, which isn’t that far back, so it shows us that some people still hold on to those discriminatory practices.
Will the world be changed overnight because Obama is in office? No. Will racism end based on his win? No. Will we still endure hardships? Absolutely. Yet, we have made SIGNIFICANT progress thus far, which only lets me know we are able to make so much more. President Obama didn't start the movement; he answered the call of the movement. He answered the call of the dream so that the children I will have someday will really be able to say, "I want to be president," and no one will see it as far-fetched. We are a million steps closer.
He is the first politician who said things I actually felt in my soul. This isn’t some cult or impulsive craze; this is HISTORY. If it’s not something you would do, I understand but in the words of Jay-Z, “Can’t Knock the Hustle.” President Obama is MOTIVATION! And if I am a fool for believing in someone who acknowledges we need change in our schools, economy, government, lifestyles, and so much more but has the power to work for that, than so be it. I'm guilty, standing tall, standing proud, boldly drenched in ink for our 44th President of the United States.
I want to thank Renee for considering sending her tattoo photo and accompanying statement to us here at Tattoosday. Regardless of one's politics, it is difficult to convincingly argue that the election of Barack Obama was not an historic moment. I was happy to share Renee's joy here on Tattoosday.