On this morning’s Today show, co-anchor Tamron Hall presented an Instagram photo posted yesterday of a young woman doing ballet (I think she’s doing ballet, at least, I’m no dance doctor). After she asked if they knew who it was, one of her fellow anchors quipped, “That’s you!” Tamron asked, “That’s who?” and again, her co-anchor insisted, “That’s YOU!” Except it wasn’t. It was Michelle Obama. You can tell this pretty easily by the “@FLOTUS” caption up in the righthand corner and the fact that the girl looks like Michelle Obama.
Here’s the Vine that Guyism took of the embarrassing bit:
Yeah, sorry folks, but Michelle Obama and Tamron Hall look nothing alike, including in this photo.
To make matters worse, it is Hall’s first week as a full-time anchor on the show, making her the first black woman to co-anchor the Today show. In an interview with Essence published earlier this week, she said this:
How could I not be walking on cloud nine? Just the other day I was reading about Meredith Vieira being the first woman to host the primetime Olympic shows. Of course, I knew what was happening with my negotiations behind the scenes and I thought, wow, these big moments at NBC News and now I’m a part of this for women, for Black women, for all of us. And I’m just taken aback by it. I can’t even describe to you how it feels.
It is really spectacular that she and many other women are breaking down boundaries in the entertainment and news industries, but it’s unfortunate that within her first few days there, her coworkers already mixed her up with another WOC.
Remember when Armani embarrassed the crap out of itself by confusing Idris Elba (a 6’3″ 41-year-old black British actor) with Alfre Woodard (a 5’3″ 61-year-old black American actress) on its Instagram after the Governor’s Awards? Fortunately, the Internet co-opted the gaff by creating #ArmaniCaptions, which went something like this:
Excellent adoption and reversing of idiocy, Internet! Because that’s just what you do (sometimes).
Long story short, it would probably benefit people–namely, white people–to not assume all images of black people are the same person. If you see a photo of a black woman, for example, do not say, “Hey, is that Viola Davis?” even if the subject does not look like Viola Davis, because there are literally millions of black Americans who are not, in fact, Viola Davis and you will sound really, really stupid.