Yesterday, Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the UNICEF awards to introduce Katy Perry, who was receiving recognition for her work for children. Hillary wore yellow. Bright highlighter, luminous silk yellow. In the photo from the stage moment, Hillary beams rays of sunshine compared to the wan tones of Perry’s dress and the formal, traditional black dresses of the other two women. Hillary manages to steal the spotlight from Katy Perry — Perry, ironically, best known for her stage costumes of cartoon primary colors. Clinton’s yellow is slightly melancholy and strongly optimistic.
For HRC supporters, the yellow has a tinge of sadness. In 2008 Michelle Obama radiated down the inaugural parade route in a somewhat daring off-yellow citron-hued dress and matching jacket by designer Isabel Toledo. The dress had a beautiful effect as the couple walked, and the retro style hearkened back to the days of the Kennedy years.
We don’t need to rehash the symbolism the color yellow has in American culture — for Americans yellow has very specific associations from the happy face logo of the 1970s to the primary colors that dominate the earliest years of education in the nation. It’s a consistently happy color, and politically, has always represented an optimism towards the future.
Earlier this year Beyonce released an extraordinary album, Lemonade. In the video “Hold Up”, Beyonce, crushed by the betrayal of her lover, has gathered her forces and begins to recognize her own strength and her claims to power. “Hold up,” the singer says, “they don’t love you like I love you”. Furthermore, “I hop up out the bed and get my swag on
I look in the mirror, say, “What’s up?”. That’s right: pick yourself up; you are not going to be taken down by this; you get your swag on and go back out there. And so, Beyonce does: she throws open the doors and Hold Up, Everyone. Game is On.
And then? Beyonce strides down a city street and instead of a lady-like wave, she waves her bat, crushing the windows of automobiles from the American past.
It is a new stronger Woman walking down that street, strutting with her own power.