Writer, poet, editor, political strategist and feminist Chirlane McCray, 58, became the second Black First Lady of New York City last night with the exhilarating election of her husband, Bill de Blasio, 52, who became Gotham’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years defeating Republican Joe Lhota. The power couple have been together close to two decades, and have two children, 16-year-old Dante de Blasio and 18-year-old Chiara de Blasio.
McCray’s appeal transcends race, true, but her unapologetic sister-girl flare makes us even more proud. Self-described on Twitter as an “activist, writer, loving partner of @deblasionyc and Brooklyn mom,” McCray makes it clear that she is “speaking the truth as [she] knows it.” It’s something she’s been doing for decades.
McCray shared intimate details about her and Bill’s courtship in the below excerpt from the New York Times:
By the time she started a job in the press office of New York’s City Hall in 1991, there was no confusion: she had zero interest in dating a man, a message that Mr. de Blasio, then a lanky, bearded operative across the building, jauntily ignored.
He flirted with her mercilessly, she said, calling nonstop and trying to steal an unwelcome kiss. “I actually told him, ‘Slow this down,’ ” Ms. McCray said. Her resistance became less diplomatic: “Back off.”
But a romance blossomed: Mr. de Blasio, five years her junior, won over her family with an overnight visit that earned him a new moniker: “Brother Bill.”
McCray has no intention of taking a backseat now that the election is over. As she told the NY Times, “It’s not who Bill and I have been as a couple…We’ve always been partners in the campaigns and any major thing we have taken on.”
Though some in the LGBT community have voiced anger that McCray no longer identifies as lesbian post her marriage to de Blasio, McCray rejects labels and has addressed that criticism head on: “We’re in a committed relationship, have been for 21 years and so the only label I feel is appropriate, for me at this time, is married.”
de Blasio makes no secret that he depends on his wife in both his private and public life:
“When I’ve been trying to choose people for my team, a lot of time Chirlane sits in on the interviews,” Mr. de Blasio said. “There’s a deep trust. But I also like the way she assesses people and what she sees.”
Whatever the future holds for the City of New York, it’s certain that Chirlane McCray will be at the forefront, right beside her husband where she’s always been.
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