Forever first lady Michelle Obama said she was hesitant about wearing her natural hair after she and former President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009.
On Tuesday, While promoting her new book, “The Light We Carry,” at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Obama told host Ellen DeGeneres that she felt like the American people were “just getting adjusted” to having a Black president in office. So, she decided to keep her hair straight, according to The Hill.
“The code of ethics at a workplace, as Black women we deal with it, the whole thing about do you show up with your natural hair?” the revered author explained, before joking: “Braids, ya’ll!”
The “Becoming” star quipped that she wanted to get “healthcare passed” before she began experimenting with different hairstyles. At times, she would tease her glam team by mentioning how she wanted to rock braids around the White House.
“I would get my staff all worried, too,” Mrs. Obama chuckled. While funny, the 58-year-old attorney and activist reminded the audience that her experience is far too common for Black women outside of the Oval Office.
“That’s the African American experience,” she said. “Women in offices that are worried, ‘Should I wear skirts? Should I wear pantyhose?’ I hate pantyhose. But when you’re carrying all this other stuff, this mask, these differences and you’re trying to do your job, it’s just an extra burden on overcoming.”
Obama’s Warner Theatre appearance fell on the same day Donald Trump announced his presidential bid for 2024. While she did not mention the fiery Republican’s name, Mrs. Obama reflected on the “painful” experience she endured after the former president won in 2016.
“You don’t want to make this personal, but as I write in the book, it hurt. It hurt because you wonder was it a rebuke of the eight years, the sacrifice we made? Was it complacency? What was it?” the star said, before adding.
“We sacrificed a lot to make that set of changes and because not enough people voted, that was that.”
While reflecting on the pandemic, Mrs. Obama said:
“You’re looking at the world and you’re looking at the world literally fall apart before your very eyes. And for us, it was particularly painful because we knew this would happen.”
Michelle Obama’s new book “The Light We Carry” is available on bookshelves and online now!