Speaking at a town hall event at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington D.C. on Monday to promote his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, President Obama told the crowd that African Americans do not need "to act a certain way to be authentic."
"The notion that there's some authentic way of being black, that if you're going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go," Obama said. "Because there are a whole bunch of different ways for African American men to be authentic."
Oddly, the President went on to offer some rather bizarre and outlandish words of praise to his wife, Michelle, when he told the crowd that the First Lady can talk properly if need be.
"If you look at Michele, she grew up South Side," the President said. "And her mom still lives in a neighborhood where gunshots go off, and it can be rough where Michelle grew up. But she'll talk proper when she needs to."
The President then added in jest: "Now, you also don't want to get on her [Michelle's] wrong side, because she can translate that into a different vernacular."
"But," Mr. Obama went on to say, "my point is, is that you don't have to act a certain way to be authentic. You just have to be who you are."
Ironically, Mr. Obama has been known to talk with a phony southern accent while addressing African American crowds. Nevertheless, on Monday, he seemed to acknowledge that this kind of phony behavior is unnecessary and unhelpful.
"You don't have to act a certain way to be authentic," he said. "You just have to be who you are."