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Is President Barack Obama appealing more to African Americans during his second term in the White House?

I certainly believe so. And it’s good for the black community.

Last week, while I was sitting inside my barbershop in Washington, D.C., one customer offered this unsolicited assessment of the president:

President Obama is going to show us his blackness this time around,” the customer said with enthusiasm. “He’s not running for re-election anymore; he’s got nothing to lose. Just watch.”

I’ve heard this same analysis from many black men and women over the past few weeks who believe that Obama will have a more aggressive approach to connecting with black Americans during the next four years in the White House.

I have heard it all: Some folks have told me that Obama will start speaking out more about the struggles of black Americans and others have joked that he’ll immediately join the NAACP.

At least that’s what many black Americans are hoping for.

Black folks feel like they have a stake in Obama’s presidency and many want a return on their investment. They want to feel that the president has their interests at heart, but many also want to hear Obama publicly express his commitment to black issues.

I believe the president is becoming more engaged with the African American community and he’s steadily setting a tone for the months ahead.

Consider this: Last week, Obama met with a group of African American leaders at the White House to reiterate his support for people hit hardest  by the economic crisis, partnering with high-poverty communities to help them rebuild, making sure folks have access to job training programs, and encouraging companies to invest in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

During the meeting, the president stressed the harm that the automatic cuts known as the sequester will have on thousands of jobs while cutting services to children, seniors, mental health programs and small businesses if Congress does not intervene by March 1.

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