Obama’s Little Richard moment

President Obama taking on big challenges last week
Dwayne Wade had heard it all year. Despite attracting two additional All-Stars to the Miami Heat, neither he, nor Chris Bosh nor LeBron James was capable of hitting the big shot or beating elite teams.
Wade particularly had a dark cloud over his head when it came to the Boston Celtics, the Eastern Conference champion. He’d averaged a mere 12 points per game against them.
The pundits said, the Heat doesn’t have the toughness and winning attitude of the Celtics.
Sunday, the series that everyone waited for began. There was only one way for Wade to respond. He went on the attack, piling up a record point total in the first half alone and finishing with 38 points.
Another Chicago basketball player has been taking it on the chin since the beginning of the NBA season last November.
President Barack Obama was on the verge of losing control of the national agenda, as the likes of Donald Trump questioned his natural birth in the U.S. and even his competence.
I had noticed that it had been months since I’d seen anyone in the ghetto wearing an Obama T-shirt, and Standard and Poors threatened to reduce America’s debt rating.
Through it all, the leader of the free world remained poker faced. The approach has stood him in good stead during the most intense advanced placement test that any American president has withstood: a recession, financial meltdown, two wars, the Gulf oil spill and now a looming energy crisis plus a killer wave of tornados.
As author of two books on African-American management styles, Success Secrets of Black Executives and JazzManagement: the art of planned improvisation, I’ve noted the unique circumstances under which pacesetters like Obama have to prove their chops. As MIPS Technologies Chair Ken Coleman said in Success Secrets, “I never got an easy assignment.”
While interviewing several of Silicon Valley’s black pioneers for my upcoming exhibition Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge this weekend, I heard the same phenomenon. They had only gotten management opportunities when everyone else had failed.
As a result, one of the attributes one can count on among black leaders is resilience, and an ability to tackle the most extreme adversity.
Jim Cates, one of IBM’s earliest black technical standouts with DB2 and artificial intelligence, told me he made a career of salvaging seemingly doomed software projects on time and under budget.
Despite that, the credit always seems to go elsewhere.
As President Obama told the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, “I can conclusively say that the honeymoon is over.”
In fact, he had become such a pinata that Republicans could castigate anyone or anything by just linking his name to it, the Afghanistan commander made jokes about him in a magazine article and one Republican sent out e-mails with his face on a monkey.
Knowing that he had a big trump card in the works, Obama put one set of lies to rest by unveiling his long-form birth certificate.
Then he named a new national security team by installing Leon Panetta as defense secretary and David Petraeus as CIA director, a move that he was finally becoming commander in chief.
Unbeknowstd to the rest of us, he authorized the attack on Osama bin-Laden on Friday.
Then he came to the correspondents dinner and had a great time giving all his critics the once over, including Trump.
Sunday evening, he jumped over the car to win the slam dunk contest by preempting Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice to announce that he had achieved what the last three American presidents had not — the demise of the leader of Al Queda.
Although he made it clear that he was not born in Kenya, his father’s homeland, Obama was still compelled to open his remarks at the correspondents dinner not with Hail to the Chief, but I’m a Real American.
There is a singer who actually was born in Kenya named Victor Sila, a NAACP Image Award winner for World Music in 2010, who makes no bones coming from Kenya. He’s penned one song called “Black President,” but there’s another that fits President Obama’s week: “Super African.” The refrain could speak for every black in a leadership position. “Get up when I’m down, never hold me back, get like the sun..”
And for his critics, one can quote Little Richard: “Shut up!”