Barack and Michelle Obama will always be remembered as the presidential couple that changed the way politics are done in the country.
Following in the footsteps of campaigns such as John F. Kennedy’s, where the tracking of a camera made the famous politician a humanized figure close to all American homes, the Obamas took this proximity to a new level, in the era of social networks.
While Barack positioned himself as the first African-American president in the history of the United States, his wife Michelle was always by his side, not only in front of the cameras, but also in the forging of a branded image.
Today, Michelle Obama is part of American popular culture, consistently ranked as one of the most inspiring and influential women in the country and the world by publications such as Vanity Fair and People.
Despite her constant declarations that she “has no passion for politics,” the former first lady has shown that everything is political, especially with her book Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice published by Crown in November 2018, which has sold more than 10 million copies.
We are not talking about politics in public service, but politics in how we determine and inspire the path of millions of people, especially girls and women who see in Michelle Obama the role model for independent women in the 21st century.
Her memoirs recount, from a deeply personal perspective, her origins, her discovery as a professional woman in a masculinized world, and how finding her own voice determined much of what would happen once they arrived at the White House.
Separated into three sections: “Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us,” and “Becoming More,” her book traces the journey from her home on the South Side of Chicago to marriage and political life. But it would be her November 2018 tour that would transform her literary project into a mass phenomenon.
Traveling through more than 30 cities, Michelle Obama sold out arenas, and shared through social networks touching moments with thousands of girls of color who see in her a totally different future than the one seen on the streets of the country.
Two years later, and with the help of director Nadia Hallgren, Becoming has been transformed into a documentary for Netflix that will be released on May 6, with the intention of giving a light of hope to millions of viewers who are experiencing a critical situation during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Those months I spent traveling — meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe — drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with. In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams. We processed the past and imagined a better future. In talking about the idea of ‘becoming,’ many of us dared to say our hopes out loud,” said Michelle Obama to Deadline. “I treasure the memories and that sense of connection now more than ever, as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion, and uncertainty.
“Even as we can no longer safely gather or feed off the energy of groups, even as many of us are living with grief, loneliness, and fear, we need to stay open and able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Empathy is our lifeline here. It’s what will get us to the other side. Let’s use it to redirect our attention toward what matters most, reconsider our priorities, and find ways to better remake the world in the image of our hopes,” she said. “Even in hard times, maybe especially in hard times, our stories help cement our values and strengthen our connections. Sharing them shows us the way forward. I love and miss you all.”