After the film “Black Panther” first opened, former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted that “young people will finally see superheroes that look like them.”
When two-year-old Parker Curry visited the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and saw Obama’s new portrait, she thought she was looking at more than a superhero. Parker said she thought Obama was a queen.
“I realized that she believes Michelle Obama is a queen, and she wants to be a queen as well,” Parker’s mother Jessica Curry said last week. “As a female and as a girl of color, it’s really important that I show her people who look like her that are doing amazing things and are making history so that she knows she can do it.”
Ben Hines of North Carolina, also visiting the gallery on Thursday, captured an image of Parker intensely staring at the portrait and posted the photo on his Facebook page. The picture went viral.
Artist Amy Sherald, the first Black woman commissioned to paint a portrait for the gallery, created the image of Obama. She posted the photo of Parker on Instagram and Obama responded with a series of three heart-eyed, smiley-faced emojis.
“The ability to be the first African American painter, to paint the first African American president of the United States … It doesn’t get any better than that,” artist Kehinde Wiley said.
But on Tuesday, Obama actually met face-to-face with the little girl in her Washington office.
She and Parker danced to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
After their meeting, Obama posted on Twitter a short video of the two dancing with the message, “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!
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
Obama also posted a photo of their meeting on her Instagram account. MSNBC Host Joy-Ann Reid shared the photo with the following message:
“This is all you need today,” Reid wrote. “A little girl gets to meet the first lady who awed her in an iconic museum portrait that she believed was of a Queen. @michelleobama making the time and creating a moment that will stay with this little princess forever. Amazing.”
Sherald’s portrait of Obama will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery through early November.