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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


WATCH: Barack Obama catches up with boy who asked to touch his hair

The two first met in 2009 when Carlton Philadelphia, Jacob's father, brought his family to the White House.


Former President Barack Obama had a virtual reunion with a man whose innocent question in the Oval Office more than a decade ago yielded a photo that hung in the White House for years.

Jacob Philadelphia was just five years old when he visited the Oval Office with his parents and elder brother in 2009.

Obama reflected on his time as president in a tweet.

“Jacob Philadelphia was five years old [when he] asked if his hair was like mine. That photo became one of our favourites – a reminder of the power of seeing yourself in your leaders.”

The moment was captured on camera and later dubbed ‘Hair Like Mine’.

Now, after almost 13 years, Obama again met Jacob and shared a video of their interaction.

“Is that Jacob? It’s Barack Obama. Do you remember me?”

From the small monitor on his desk, a smiling Jacob replies: “Yes, and you said your hair would be grey next time.”

Obama said the iconic photo embodied the hope that he’d had when he first started running for office.

“I remember telling Michelle and some of my staff, ‘you know I think that if I were to win, the day I was sworn in to office, young people, particularly African American people, people of colour, outsiders’ folks who didn’t always feel like they belonged, they’d look at themselves differently, to see a person who looked like them in the oval office.”

In the interaction, Philadelphia spoke about pursuing political science at the University of Memphis and studying high school in Uganda.

The two first met in 2009, when Carlton Philadelphia, Jacob’s father, a U.S. Marine who served on the National Security Council, brought his family to the White House.

White House photographer Pete Souza captured the moment in a photo that spent the rest of Obama’s presidency hanging on a wall in the West Wing.

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