For most people, a simple "Happy Birthday!" written on their birthday cake will do. But Sabrina Hersi Issa isn't most people.
Issa, CEO of Be Bold Media, a digital agency focused on humanitarian issues, commissioned a birthday cake with a rather unique message when she celebrated her birthday last weekend. Her coconut layer cake from the Cakeroom, a Washington-based bakery, came topped with a tweet from Rep. Maxine Waters.
The cake is nothing short of stupendous:
Waters is a California congresswoman who has been extremely outspoken about President Donald Trump's incompetence. In March, she tweeted: "I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated and I'm not going anywhere."
As if this story couldn't get any sweeter, a snafu at the bakery made for an even more delicious plot. "Hilariously, when I went to pick it up I found out there was a mix-up at the shop and they accidentally sent my cake to the wrong customer!" Issa said in an email. "Can you imagine getting this out of context? To the casino manager dude celebrating his 40th birthday and was expecting a cake replicating a poker table, I hope you enjoyed Maxine's cameo to your party!"
It's unclear whether the Maxine cake was a hit at the 40th birthday party. But the internet thoroughly enjoyed the Waters-inspired cake. Issa's tweet with her birthday cake has over 1,000 retweets as of Tuesday afternoon.
Waters caught wind of the cake on Instagram and left Issa a birthday message in the comments.
Issa uses her birthday cakes as a canvas of expression and inspiration. She said she used to consider birthdays "a marker connected to tremendous losses in [her] life," as she wrote on Instagram last year. It has taken her practice to "get into the spirit of celebrating" her birthday, she said in an email.
I thought of all the black women leaders I know who lead boldly day in and day out, I thought this is the leadership and energy I want to elevate and honor on my birthday. This is what we all need to source within ourselves. — Sabrina Hersi Issa
Last year, Issa's cake was inspired by a piece by Rebecca Traister, an author who writes about politics, media and feminism.
Though it was "funny and joyful," Issa didn't plan on doing another quotable birthday cake this year, she said. "Then Maxine Waters kept being America's hero and giving me all the life."
When I reflected on what energy and ethos I wanted to bring into my year ahead, I kept circling back to Maxine Waters and her style of unapologetically delivering necessary truths. I thought of all the black women leaders I know who lead boldly day in and day out, I thought this is the leadership and energy I want to elevate and honor on my birthday. This is what we all need to source within ourselves.
Black women's leadership — exemplified by Waters — has been Issa's source of support and strength in the wake of the presidential election, she said.
I am little surprised that it's gone viral — and I am also deeply heartened to see this celebration of strength spread and the number of black women [with whom] this message resonates. To those women: I love you. I see you. We got us.