Update: Michelle Obama's longtime hairstylist Johnny Wright confirmed exclusively to Refinery29 that the photo is real — and recent. Get all the details here.
This story was originally posted April 3, 2017.
No matter who's currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Michelle Obama will always and forever be my first lady. To me, she epitomizes class, grace, strength, smarts, and slay... all while managing to walk the dogs, write college recommendation letters, end childhood obesity, deliver incredible (sometimes copied) speeches, and sit down for family dinner with Sasha, Malia, and President Barack Obama. Just call her Superwoman.
Her eight years in the White House were spent in style, too. She nailed every single campaign, rally, and State Dinner ensemble, never missing a beat, and managing to show love to international designers. And her longtime hairstylist, Johnny Wright, always made sure that her hair was laid, with the silkiest presses and the bounciest blowouts possible.
However, there's one style that the Michelle Hive longed to see that never happened: her natural hair. Wright confirmed that Mrs. Obama is 100 percent natural in 2015, and the Internet ran with it since then. I can't count how many times I saw this Photoshopped image of the former first lady with a huge, curly 'fro come across my timeline. Despite our hopes and wishes, Mrs. Obama opted to straighten her hair throughout her time in the public eye. Until now, it appears.
Twitter user @meagnacarta posted a photo of the leader with a curly, voluminous low ponytail, and a wide, printed headband around her edges. It's not clear when or where it was taken, but it didn't take long for the rest of Twitter to collectively freak out. Meagnacarta's post racked up over 16,000 retweets, and prompted a whole lot of responses, too.
But because this is the Internet, there were also people who thought that the Michelle ponytail was nbd. "Wow I can't believe Michelle Obama invented having natural hair," a user sarcastically tweeted. "Lol people really overdo it on Twitter," another noted.
Aside from the #unimpressed demo, there were also a few that dared to address the elephant in the room. "Boy if Michelle Obama would have ever worn her hair natural it would have been a fuckin debacle," a separate tweeter said. And he's got a point. Black women should be free to wear their hair however they choose in the workspace, but just look at what happened to Maxine Waters this week. And the U.S. court ruling that makes it legal to discriminate against employees with dreadlocks.
Maybe there is a reason why Mrs. Obama waited until she was OOO to let her natural hair fly... only she knows. But I know that it was worth the wait.
We have reached out to Michelle Obama's hairstylist and team to confirm the authenticity of the photograph and will update this piece when we learn more.