Two-year-old Parker Curry became Internet famous last week after a photograph of her standing entranced, mouth agape, in front of the recently unveiled Michelle Obama portrait went viral. The photo— taken at the National Portrait Gallery by a man named Ben Hines— accumulated more than 35,000 shares and 25,000 reactions on Facebook, and has led to emotional conversations about intersectionality and representation in modern art.
About a week later, the little girl had the opportunity to meet the object of her uninhibited awe. On Tuesday, former FLOTUS Michelle Obama posted a video to her Twitter of the two getting their groove on to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Parker, I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)! Keep on dreaming big for yourself...and maybe one day I'll proudly look up at a portrait of you! pic.twitter.com/faUVTsYWun— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) March 6, 2018
“Keep on dreaming big for yourself…and maybe one day I’ll proudly look up at a portrait of you!”
Naturally, people on Twitter couldn’t contain their love for Michelle Obama:
Me too pic.twitter.com/l0UHOYXUgT— Navy_Man (@Submarine_Guy) March 6, 2018
Amy Sherald, the artist who painted the portrait of Michelle Obama had this to say about the photograph of little Parker Curry:
“Feeling all the feels. ? When I look at this picture I think back to my first field trip in elementary school to a museum. I had only seen paintings in encyclopedias up to that point in my life. There was a show up of work by painter @thebobartlett whose work still inspires me to this day. There was a painting of a black man standing in front of a house. I don’t remember a lot about my childhood, but I do have a few emotional memories etched into my mind forever and seeing that painting of a man that looked like he could be my father stopped me dead in my tracks. This was my first time seeing real paintings that weren’t in a book and also weren’t painted in another century. I didn’t realize that none of them had me in them until I saw that painting of Bo’s. I knew I wanted to be an artist already, but seeing that painting made me realize that I could. What dreams may come? #representationmatters”
Clearly, Sherald’s painting and its home in the National Portrait Gallery means a lot to young black girls. Its mere existence serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment, its prominence a message to young black girls that they can grow up to be empowered black women with the capacity to change the world. What better way to celebrate that than with a Michelle Obama dance party?