Everyone’s gushing over Michelle Obama’s most recent iconic hairstyle.
On Wednesday, the former first lady was praised for sporting braids during an appearance with former President Barack Obama at the White House to unveil their official portraits.
Michelle — who arrived adorned in an elegant pleated ombré silk gown with braids swept into a side bun — knocked out the crowd with her breathtaking nod to a historic and symbolic part of Black and African cultures.
The trailblazer’s hairstyle choice of braids for the huge platform sent Twitter into a delighted frenzy, with many pointing out that it marked a milestone of cultural progress in America.
“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,” White House correspondent Eugene Daniels tweeted.
“Michelle Obama is at the White House for her portrait unveiling, and her hair is in box braids,” another Twitter user wrote. “You have no idea what seeing that means for Black women. Little Black girls. I’m emotional.”
Adjoa B. Asamoah, President Joe Biden’s national advisor for Black engagement, joined in on the praise, applauding the former First Lady for “shifting [the] 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 and 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!” Asamoah tweeted.
The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act was first introduced in Congress in March 2019 and prohibits employers from race-based discrimination against Black people with natural hair textures and hairstyles.
More than five years after moving out of the White House, Michelle spoke at the ceremony Wednesday about the significance of her portrait being displayed, per the Associated Press.
“For me, this day is not just about what has happened. It’s also about what could happen, because a girl like me, she was never supposed to be up there next to Jacqueline Kennedy and Dolley Madison. She wasn’t supposed to live in this house, and she wasn’t supposed to serve as the first lady,” the 58-year-old said, reflecting on her journey growing up as a Black girl on the South Side of Chicago.
“Too often in this country, people feel like they have to look a certain way or act a certain way to fit in,” she went on to say, before adding the portraits are a “reminder that there’s a place for everyone in this country.”