Friday, September 11, 2009


In Time Magazine there's a three page article -- "Why Michelle's Hair Matters. For African American women, hair commands great interest and carries a lot of cultural baggage ... the choice every black woman makes to alter their hair's natural texture has been attributed to everything from a history of oppression and assimilation to media influenced notions of beautiful and personal aesthetics ..."

The article lists some hair-straightening tools -- "Chemicals, hot comb, round brush and dryer" and the big deal it would be, if Michell wore her hair "natural." And mentions the poll taken by, where "56% of the respondents say the US is not ready for a first lady with kinky hair."

Chris Rock (at the Sundance Festival 2009) introducing the premiere of his film Good Hair is quoted-- "Their hair costs more than anything they wear," and Rock quotes another comic who said -- "If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”

Researching Michelle's current hairdo, I read the blog in -- "Her hair is done, every day by stylist Johnny Wright -- not doing it isn't a option -- she'd look too ethnic." A follower wrote -- "I wonder if she'll ever let it be un-straightened, less straighted, or allow it to lie flat, be "natural" or "out?"

What does Em think about all this?

I never paid much attention to Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama's various hairdos. Her grace is what I see. Of course I notice what she's wearing, but my opinion has been -- not an opinion, a determination, a powerful instinct to support her husband, and everything to do with him.

Her clothes are often praised by fashion people doesn't excite me. But I'm petite, and wear clothes that DON'T attract attention. If I'm looked at, I want to be looked at because of me. In my dancer days, when I went to openings and opening night parties with my husband, I wore unusual, fantastical clothes, and unique, lavish-looking, antique jewelry as well.

Women's style nowadays, a lot of it "vintage," doesn't seem to have a "NOW" look. Kids have it -- girls are wearing flashy things to attract attention; boys are still in droopy, over- sized things that echo what their current idols are wearing.

Michelle's hair looks right -- straightened or ironed or processed -- she presents herself simply, elegantly, tastefully. Though I find myself studying female reporters who usually wear too much makeup, I don't study Michelle that way. If she were wearing excessive liner, lipstick, sculpting rouge, or fake lashes, I'd notice and be bothered.

No, we have a first lady who is a first lady --IS herself when she meets the Queen of England, is herself whenever she's functioning as First Lady and photographs are taken.

I don't often 100% nod, smile, or bow to anyone, but I do to Michelle Obama. I love the fact that she is our first lady. NO other first ladies have been a first lady to me.

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