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Del Sandeen

Del Sandeen

Del Sandeen is a writer, blogger, editor and social media coordinator. From 2009-2017, she was the Black Hair Expert at About.com. After wearing relaxed hair for 19 years, she big-chopped in 2000 and hasn't looked back. She lives in Northeast Florida with her family, where the humidity tries to mess with her hair, but she loves it anyway. Connect with her at toni & alice.
Del Sandeen

 

Ever since former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama left the White House after two terms, they’ve been spotted having fun and letting their hair down. Well, in the case of the President, that’s just a figure of speech. But with Mrs. Obama, it’s more literal in that photos have popped up of her wearing her natural hair. And we’re loving it. The question is: why didn’t we see more of this when she was acting as First Lady?

America Isn’t Ready

While we can say that America was (mostly) ready for a black President, judging by the 2008 and 2012 elections, we’re not so sure the country is ready for a First Lady who proudly sports her natural texture. This is unfortunate. But the reality is, as many black women throughout America know, certain segments of the population react negatively to natural hair.

Reaction to the Pictures

The photos in early April 2017 of Michelle Obama sporting her natural hair didn’t actually break the Internet, but they seemed to. Her longtime stylist Johnny Wright revealed to Refinery29 that she’s been relaxer-free for about seven years now, but she chose to wear her hair in a straightened state even after leaving the chemicals behind. Had she worn her natural locks while her husband was still in office, there would have been plenty of commentary. Some of it would undoubtedly have been negative since some people think a First Lady should “look a certain way” and naturally curly/kinky/coily hair doesn’t fit into their narrative of what she should look like.

Although the Obamas are no longer serving the country in the same capacity, it’s still a big deal for little black girls (and boys) to see Michelle Obama wearing her hair and showing off a texture that looks like theirs. It shows future generations as well as everyone else that black women can look just as elegant, refined and classy sporting the hair that naturally grows from their scalps as they can while wearing straightened locks. When a woman as high-profile as Michelle Obama does it, it makes a powerful statement. Maybe there’s a girl or woman out there who’s now inspired to leave relaxers behind because of those pictures of our former First Lady rocking natural hair.

AUTHOR: DEL SANDEEN

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural. Not sure of which products are right for your hair type? Visit our solution oriented natural hair products store.

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