The Obamas are back in the spotlight with former President Barack Obama and former first-lady Michelle Obama announcing a multimedia deal with Netflix. The beloved power couple will reportedly produce several television shows and films and will even star in a few.
The Netflix deal gives the former first couple a significant platform to continue their efforts in inspiring change. Many speculated that the production could serve as an opportunity for the former Democratic president to contradict the policies of his Republican Oval Office successor, Donald Trump. However, Obama stated that he has no intent in waging a public war against the sitting president or any other conservative voices in the media, such as Fox News.
However, a chance in the Hollywood spotlight is nothing new for the Obamas. President Obama, both as a subject and star, has been featured on Netflix before. Vikram Ghandi’s biographical drama, “Barry,” looks at the early life of the first black president, when he was one of the few black students studying at Columbia University in the early ‘80s.
Another film on Netflix, “Southside with You,” depicts the early stages and building of Barack and Michelle’s relationship. With the success of each of these features, it will be interesting to see what the Obamas, with them both behind and in front of the camera, will bring to Netflix viewers.
At this point, the content of the unnamed Netflix series is still left to speculation. So, to throw my hat in the ring, here are my predictions.
1. Health & Fitness
While her husband was in office, the former first lady played a significant role in the reformation of public nutrition policy. In 2010, the former first lady launched her health campaign, “Let’s Move.” The campaign aimed to increase public awareness on adequate childhood nutrition while identifying and altering unhealthy eating habits associated with childhood obesity.
She also spoke on numerous platforms, including Nickelodeon, to promote physical activity for children — a first for a presidential administration, much less a first lady.
The advocates of her initial health initiatives would love seeing her continued efforts in eradicating the prevalence of obesity in American children, along with possibly seeing the example she sets with her own fitness and dietary routines.
2. Prescription Opioid Epidemic
Throughout his two terms, President Obama advocated for a solution to the rapidly spreading prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. In fact, in 2016, the Obama administration funded a new project to disrupt prescription opioid, fentanyl and heroin trafficking.
He also hosted multiple meetings at the White House to speak with former addicts, as well as family members of those who lost their lives to the epidemic. Obama used these encounters numerous times to incite action from Congress.
In Macklemore’s MTV special, “Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis,” the rapper and the former president discuss the complexities of the epidemic. In his open dialogue with Macklemore, a former drug addict himself, Obama asserted that criminalizing drugs and drug users have been counterproductive in the past and that the countries’ next step should be to focus on drug treatment.
The 44th president’s efforts to decriminalize drugs, and instead offer the helping hand of rehabilitation, could pique the interest of those who are desperate to see a change.
3. The Obama & Biden Special
While the Obama family have befriended everyone from everyday citizens, to A-list celebrities, such as Beyonce Knowles, Steph Curry and Prince Harry, what people went crazy for was the delightful relationship between President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden. The legendary bromance has become one of the greatest and most popular memes in the history of the internet.
Obama: Wave at the people, Joe.
Biden: IMMA POINT AT'EM
Obama: Please just wave.
— Reverend Scott (@Reverend_Scott) November 29, 2014
Biden: Trump better not get in my face… cos I'll drop that motherfucker
— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) November 10, 2016
"No, Joe the debate is on"
"Just turn to ESPN real quick. I wanna see the score"
"You have your own TV"
"It's scary in my room." pic.twitter.com/RAz6cv5Q7v
— Ol’ QWERTY Bastard (@TheDiLLon1) September 27, 2016
The comical relationship between the pair would make for a light-hearted and enjoyable Netflix feature, as the Obama-Biden memes would spiral out of control.
4. Climate Change
During his presidency, Obama was labeled by some as America’s “first climate president.” He reiterated several times throughout his presidency that climate change is the world’s greatest threat.
In the final year of his presidency, Obama permanently banned any new oil and gas drilling in U.S.-owned waters in both the Atlantic and Arctic. Even though his successor President Trump would reverse the order two years later, the act resulted in the protection of more than 265 million acres of land and water.
Obama has also starred in Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary, “Before the Flood,” where he told the “Titanic” actor that America must begin to embrace existing green technology to reduce the excessive carbon emissions put into the atmosphere. The former president theorized that as new technologies come down the pipeline, the efforts to slow down climate change can become more ambitious.
Having already appeared on television and in film to discuss climate change, as well as his ongoing efforts to champion the Paris Climate Agreement, could position Obama to become the next Al Gore.
5. Obama Presidential Center
The Obama Foundation released plans earlier this year to build a center in the heart of the couple’s hometown, Chicago. Both Obamas grew up in the “windy city” and have shown consistent dedication in supporting its people while attempting to mitigate some of the pervasive crime in the major metropolitan area.
The Obama Presidential Center is on the South Side, the part of the city with the most crime, but will have outreach projects across the city, country and world. The center will be a living and working campus, teaching visitors what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century, create thousands of jobs on the South Side and will seamlessly unify with other local South Side institutions.
The Obamas, including one of the former first daughters, Sasha, have expressed excitement for the upcoming opportunities the center will create for local businesses, minorities and other underrepresented populations in the Chicago area. A family-centric series focusing on the center’s mission of reform in action could be a potential hit in the Obama’s Netflix portfolio.