Braids, bias, and a Black first lady
On the first stop of a 13-night nationwide tour to promote her new book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” “Michelle Obama, disguised as an angel of light,” chatted with host Ellen DeGeneres. Held at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC, Michelle O spouted bias, braids, and a Black first lady to a full house.
In a show of defiance that inspired audience applause, at the end of her diatribe, Obama motioned to her current hairstyle and exclaimed, “Braids, ya’ll!”
For Michelle Obama, “overcoming in uncertain times” requires a new hairdo and self-help book tour to instigate the sort of hatred that contributes to “uncertain times.” But then again, never-ending bitterness is quintessential Mrs. O.
Time and again, the former first lady misuses public fondness as an excuse to express hatred. Drawing audiences in by feigning maternal concern, every gathering devolves into Michelle-style venom on full display. This time the star author felt it was relevant to inspire images of flat irons and hair relaxers.
Think about it; six years post Obama presidency and a full house of diverse fans are subjected to stories about forgoing braids to accommodate a nation that she says needed to ‘adjust’ to a Black first lady.
Blinded by hatred, Michelle Obama must have forgotten her husband became President the year the nation was 66% Caucasian. Was Shelly afraid braids would remind the voters that elected Barack Obama that he was Black?
Weaves, Afros, or keratin straighteners, it's likely Americans already knew the President was biracial and didn’t need Michelle’s hairstyle to verify that fact.
And so, a woman who rarely wore braids before becoming first lady, chooses to expose her own racial animosity by suggesting to a book tour audience that a Black woman straightening her hair made Blackness more acceptable to White Americans.
Implying that it would have been much easier to dig in her organic victory garden with braided hair (and $540 sneakers), out of consideration for the hayseeds who assign racial connotations to hairstyle, Mrs. Obama thought, “nope, they ain’t ready for it.” So instead of braids, Southside Shelly hired a White stylist named, Meredith Koop, a full-time hairdresser, and a makeup artist.
What M.O. doesn’t realize is the authenticity she prides herself on, doesn’t exist. What does it say about a person that submits to public pressure to assuage criticism? Or is Michelle fabricating this story to fuel personal animosity toward a whole segment of American society she tends to loathe?
Coiffure and tresses aside, the most disturbing part of this story is that it revolves around the petty hostility Michelle still embraces. Sorry, but choosing a bob-over-braids is a pathetic reflection of Michelle’s narcissistic self-absorption and superficiality. Does she really believe a hairstyle was enough to divert attention from 8-years of total chaos?
Did Michelle Obama think sacrificing doing her hair “the way she wanted” would distract from reality? Would braided hair eclipse images of Ambassador Christopher Stevens’s bloodied, dead body lying on the street in Benghazi? Does Shelly really think cornrows overshadow the failed stimulus, the healthcare debacle, and the Iran nuclear deal? How about Fast & Furious, weaponizing the IRS, net neutrality, Bowe Bergdahl, NSA spying, Solyndra, suppressing the First Amendment, and much more?
Michelle didn’t stop at her personal pain. Instead, she sabotaged White women in the audience by reminding minorities who came to hear about a book, that whether they realize it or not, navigating the workplace with courser-texture, or curly hair translates into pressure from White beauty standards.
Obama said, "We deal with it, the whole thing about, ‘Do you show up with your natural hair’?" Or do Black women follow Mrs. Obama’s lifelong example and saturate their scalps with toxic chemical straightener to fit in?
Prompting Black women to feel subjugated, Michelle wove in an “overcoming” reference when she ironically addressed DeGeneres, who wears none of these things she mentioned, saying:
That’s the African American experience, but 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
Continuing to assign racial connotations to everything, Michelle even cited Barack being “blasted” for wearing a tan suit. The former first lady used the 2014 incident to justify her comment about what braids signify to White America. Talk about out-of-proportion conjecture.
Obama shared that she feared that if she changed her hairstyle from the chemically straightened version she wore most of her adult life, into a replica of the braids she sported at Princeton, critics would say, “Remember when she wore braids? Those are terrorist braids! Those are revolutionary braids!”
Is this the kind of ‘light Michelle Obama carries?’
Either way, the former first lady couldn’t help but bring up the man who offers no apology for his unique hairstyle. On the first night of her book tour, the onetime FLOTUS let the most accurate insight she’s had in her adult life slip out when she said this about Trump’s win in 2016,
You don’t want to make this personal, but as I write in the book, it hurt…because you wonder was it a rebuke of the eight years, the sacrifice we made? Was it complacency? What was it?
Maybe what it was, was public disdain for the type of rhetoric that turns hairdos into soapboxes to further a racial divisiveness that has nothing to do with braids and everything to do with resentment.
Jeannie hosts a blog at jeannieology.us
Photo credit: YouTube screengrab (cropped)