Journalist Askia Muhammad still recalls snapping the picture 13 years ago during a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting.
"I asked the senator, 'Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Minister Farrakhan?'" Muhammad said as former President Barack Obama, who was then an Illinois senator, posed with Nation of Islam's leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, reports Talking Points Memo. "And he said what I thought was the perfect answer: 'Well, he's much better looking than I am.'"
Yet while Barack Obama was seemingly in a lighthearted mood, CBC staff members were not.
Muhammad swore to keep the snap under wraps after a CBC staff member was "in a panic" amid fears the picture could have the potential to damage Barack Obama's political future.
"I sort of understood what was going on," Muhammad said. "I promised and made arrangements to give the picture to [Louis' son-in-law and Chief of Staff] Leonard Farrakhan."
"Realizing that I had given it up, I mean, it was sort of like a promise to keep the photograph secret," Muhammad continued.
"I was really, I guess, afraid of them," he added.
Consequently, Muhammad said the picture was kept a secret "all the way up until the inauguration" -- and then even after.
"Then for eight years after he was president, it was kept under cover," he said.
Although he handed over the images from his camera to Leonard Farrakhan, he made sure to keep a copy of that day's photos for himself -- a decision that would reportedly cause him endless anxiety for years.
Muhammad said he was terrified somebody would break into his apartment looking for the potentially damaging photo.
However, with time, his fears are said to have eased -- particularly after Louis Farrakhan claimed in 2016 that Barack Obama visited his Chicago home.
Finally, on Jan. 25, Muhammad felt it was safe to reveal the photo to the media.
In addition, the journalist -- with Leonard Farrakhan's approval -- will feature the snap in his upcoming self-published book.
Louis Farrakhan is a controversial minister who has sparked outrage for his anti-Semitic remarks in the past.
In March 2016, he praised President Donald Trump during his campaign because he was the only candidate who hadn't taken money from the "Jewish community," reports the Daily Mail.
He had also previously supported Barack Obama's run for presidency, which conservatives found questionable during the 2008 presidential election -- particularly after learning that the future president had attended a church that bestowed an award on Louis Farrakhan.
however, Barack Obama adamantly maintains he was no Farrakhan supporter, adding in 2008 that he has "been very clear" in his "denunciation" of Louis Farrakhan’s remarks.