Sometimes trends evolve and other times they shift abruptly. President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, ruptured food, fashion, and home decorating trends in the 1960s when they moved into the White House. Americans looked to the young and trendy first family as a beacon for taste, setting off a love affair for all things French, including chefs, cooking gadgets, actors, and fashion designers.
Fifty years later America�s newest first family seems destined to have the same kind of cultural impact on Americans� tastes, even as we stagger through an economic crisis. This time, however, it�s middle-class African-American culture (sorry France) in the spotlight, introducing new influences in a way popular hip-hop icons and sports figures never could.
The Obamas are expanding black family definitions beyond Bill Cosby�s Huxtables and Tyler Perry�s Madea Simmons with real-world examples and lessons.