Michelle Obama said that Americans “weren’t ready” for her natural hair when her husband Barak Obama was elected president.
During an appearance at the Warner Theatre in Washington DC earlier this week to promote her new book The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, the former first lady sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for a chat.
Obama revealed that she straightened her hair as the American people were “just getting adjusted” to having a Black first family in the presidential office.
“Let me keep my hair straight,” Obama recalled.
“Let’s get healthcare passed. They tripped out when Barack wore a tan suit,” referring to the criticism Barack Obama faced for his fashion choice in 2014.
“The great indignity, the scandal of the Obama administration.
“We deal with it – the whole thing about, ‘Do you show up with your natural hair?’” Obama said. “That’s the African American experience … but women in offices that are worried, ‘Should I wear skirts? Should I wear pantyhose?’ I hate pantyhose.”
Michelle Obama is currently touring around the US to promote her new book in which she shared the contents of her “personal toolbox” — the habits and practices, attitudes and beliefs, and even physical objects that she uses to overcome her feelings of fear, helplessness and self doubt.
The 58-year-old mother of daughters Malia and Sasha wrote that the book, her third, is not a how-to manual, but rather is a “series of honest reflections on what my life has taught me so far”.
“Keep in mind, too, that everything I know, all the various tools I lean on, have come to me only through trial and error, over years of constant practice and reevaluation,” she wrote. “I spent decades learning on my feet, making mistakes, adjustments, and course corrections as I went. I’ve progressed only slowly to where I am today.”
The Light We Carry is Michelle’s first new work since the 2018 release of her bestselling memoir, Becoming, which has sold more than 17m copies worldwide, by far the most popular book by a previous first lady or modern president, including her husband.