On Sep 7, 2022, former president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, returned to the White House for the unveiling of their official White House portrait. It was a historic moment, as the portraits depicted the first Black President and his spouse to ever adorn the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the paintings themselves were done in an unconventional style, showcasing a photorealistic image of the former President against a white backdrop, which contrasted starkly with a colorful painting of the former First Lady. But, as she has done so many times, Michelle Obama made another powerful statement on this day.
A Silent and Stylish Statement
Wearing her hair in knotless braids, the former First Lady paid silent tribute to millions of African American women. We’ve reported on hairstyles that are considered unprofessional in the workplace, and for many Black women, braids fall into the category of “not professional” or “not serious.” Michelle Obama proved unequivocally that braids aren’t only stylish, but sophisticated as well.
Not surprisingly, the former First Lady received an outpouring of support for her choice of hairstyle.
White House correspondent Eugene Daniels tweeted: "Something that will mean ALOT to Black people across the country: Former First Lady Michelle Obama wearing braids at the unveiling of her official White House portrait."
Something that will mean ALOT to Black people across the country: Former First Lady Michelle Obama wearing braids at the unveiling of her official White House portrait. pic.twitter.com/a5ZJObi1Dd— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) September 7, 2022
Writer and podcaster Whitney Alese commented “As a Black woman, I don’t think I can adequately describe the pride I feel seeing Michelle Obama commemorate her official White House Painting, while wearing box braids.”
As a Black woman, I don’t think I can adequately describe the pride I feel seeing Michelle Obama commemorate her official White House Painting, while wearing box braids. pic.twitter.com/pWKwIYIant— Whitney Alese (@TheReclaimed) September 7, 2022
And President Joe Biden's advisor, Adjoa B. Asamoah, added that "Folks will see many things in this picture. I do too, but I lift a beautiful @MichelleObama in braids, which means a lot to Black girls & women—including ME as the one who conceptualized and leads the CROWN Act movement. We're not JUST changing laws. We're also shifting culture!"
Folks will see many things in this picture. I do too, but I lift a beautiful @MichelleObama in braids, which means a lot to Black girls & women—including ME as the one who conceptualized and leads the CROWN Act movement. We’re not JUST changing laws. We’re also shifting culture! pic.twitter.com/rgqM2Qr605— ADJOA B. ASAMOAH (@adjoabasamoah) September 7, 2022
The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act is a bill which aims to prohibit employers from discriminating against people with natural hair textures and hairstyles. It's currently a law in 18 states.
Your Braids’ BFF
Ever since we launched Lu, we took the time to speak with our customers and learn about their pain points. For women who wear their hair naturally, we developed the Freedom Collection, which brings hydration and definition to those gorgeous natural curls. Our customers who wear their hair in braids tend to wash their hair less frequently to preserve the style. They often tell us that a clean hair care product like Lu – which has no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or harmful chemicals – is the ideal solution for their needs.
Lu’s ongoing mission is to provide haircare solutions that work for all hair types, and empowers women to be in control of their look, set their curls free, or rescue damaged locks and restore their natural health and vitality. In short, we created clean, effective and science-backed haircare solutions to help you own your look. Because, as the former First Lady said, “Too often in this country, people feel like they have to look a certain way or act a certain way to fit in.” And she said it with braids, baby.