The White House released first lady Melania Trump’s official portrait on Monday. But a photo of her predecessor grabbed a lot of attention on the same day.
The chatter seems to have started with this tweet and undated photo of Michelle Obama wearing her hair natural.
What’s the fuss?
As Elle magazine points out, “throughout the eight years of her husband’s presidency, Michelle Obama wore her hair relaxed, straightened and blown out as First Lady.
“We’ve seen her sport the pin-straight lob, the pulled-back updos and wavy tresses, but we’ve never seen her hair in its natural state.”
Reactions came swiftly. That one tweet racked up thousands of retweets as people pushed it around, shouting “Look at Michelle!”
A few people rolled their eyes. Keep moving. Nothing to see here.
Obama’s longtime hairstylist Johnny Wright revealed in a 2014 interview that his celebrity client did not chemically straighten her hair, that she’s “100 percent natural and it’s all about using great products.”
“However, there’s one style that the Michelle Hive longed to see that never happened: her natural hair ... Despite our hopes and wishes, Ms. Obama opted to straighten her hair throughout her time in the public eye. Until now.”
Underwood agreed with one Twitter user who “dared to address the elephant in the room” — if Obama had ever worn her hair natural “it would have been a debacle.”
When Danielle DeCourcey, a staff writer at ATTN:, did a Google image search of “unprofessional hair,” most of the photos that popped up were of black women with natural hairstyles.
When she Googled “professional hairstyles,” the overwhelming results were photos of white women with straight hair.
In a Bustle essay on Tuesday, Ayana Lage wrote that she texted the newly surfaced photo of the former first lady to her mother, grandmother, female cousins and sisters with this message: Look who went natural!
Lage hasn’t seen her own hair’s natural texture since she was 11; she’s 23 now.
The Obama photo inspired her to take baby steps away from the chemical relaxers and straighteners, to listen to her stylist who has been pushing her to go natural, she wrote.
“I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to consider giving my natural hair a chance ... but seeing that photo sparked the beginning of change of heart within me — not to mention a boost of confidence,” Lage wrote.
“If Michelle Obama can wear her natural hair as she pleases after years of not doing so, maybe I can, too.”