Michelle Obama didn't want first daughters to be served by tuxedoed black butlers so she changed their uniform
The former first lady also said that she "begged" the maids at the White House to let Malia and Shasha clean their own rooms and make their own beds
Former First Lady Michelle Obama reportedly told the butlers at the White House to change their uniforms because she did not want her daughters, Malia and Shasha, "thinking that grown African American men serve them in tuxedos."
Obama spoke out about the issue in new Netflix documentary called 'Becoming,' and said that she did not want her daughters, who were ten and seven years old when they moved into the White House, getting a wrong message through the tuxedo uniforms.
The former first lady also said that she "begged" the maids to let her girls clean their own rooms and make their own beds because they needed to understand that they would not live in the White House forever. "I'm not raising a girl who doesn't know how to make their own bed!" she told the housekeepers then.
She explained how adjusting to life in White House was hard for her family as they had no idea about its workings unlike political dynasties like the Bushes. Obama said that when she visited Laura Bush for the handover, she saw butlers dressed in tuxedoes, and most of them were older African American or Latino men.
Obama said that she devoted a lot of time attempting to figure out "how do I make this mansion with butlers and staff a home for two little girls?"
"I didn't want them thinking that grown African American men serve them in tuxedos," she added. "The truth was that some of those men were our uncles, they were the Pullman porters. We had to change the dress code, you can't walk around every day in a full tuxedo. Girls would have pool parties and play dates and little kids over and that just doesn't even look right to me."
She continued: "I had to beg the housekeepers, these girls have to learn how to clean their own rooms and make their beds and do their laundry because they will not live here forever and. I had to beg the housekeepers, these girls have to learn how to clean their own rooms and make their beds and do their laundry because they will not live here forever."
In the 90-minute documentary, which premiered on May 6, Obama also recalling her last day at the White House, saying she burst into tears of relief after getting on the plane. She talked about the pressure of consistently presenting a perfect front to a world, where all the attention was on her and her husband former President Barack Obama.
"When I got on the plane, I think I sobbed for 30 minutes," she said. "It was just a release of eight years of trying to do everything perfectly. One day you are a normal family and an election happens and your life changes instantly. It's like you're shot out of a cannon. We didn't have time to adjust to it."
Michelle added that although she was honored to be the first lady, the burden of constant scrutiny made her realize that her life was not hers anymore.