Michelle Obama’s New Podcast Will Help You Get Through The Rest of 2020
The former First Lady's new podcast, now out on Spotify, is about “hard conversations” and relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.
Michelle Obama will launch her own podcast on Spotify starting July 29, as part of the Obamas’ partnership with the audio streaming service. Her first guest? Her husband, Barack.
The description for “The Michelle Obama Podcast” says it will feature “the former First Lady diving deep into conversations with loved ones—family, friends, and colleagues—on the relationships in our lives that make us who we are.”
In a video announcement, Obama said podcast guests will include friends and family including her mother Marian Robinson and her brother Craig Robinson. Rolling Stone reported that former Obama White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and television host Conan O’Brien will also be guests.
“We’ll be talking about the challenges and the joys of being a parent or a spouse, the friendships that help us through the toughest times, or the growth we experience when we lean on the colleagues and mentors around us,” Obama said in a video discussing the project. She added: “What I love about these conversations is that they’re topics and issues that we’re all dealing with no matter what’s going on. Whether that’s a global pandemic or a nationwide reckoning on race.”
The former First Lady is no stranger to difficult conversations. In the past, she’s opened up about experiencing a miscarriage, going through IVF treatments, and attending couples therapy with Barack Obama after the birth of their daughters.
Honest, personal conversations became a trademark of her “Becoming” tour in 2018-2019, during which she traveled the country to discuss her memoir of the same name as well as her experiences in the White House and growing up on the South Side of Chicago.
“Michelle Obama’s superpower is creating intimacy at scale,” Vox culture writer Constance Grady said of the tour. Obama sold out arenas for her sit-down talks with public figures such as Oprah, Stephen Colbert, and Sarah Jessica Parker, and made it “feel like an intimate conversation.”
“Becoming” is “disguised as a book about her time in the White House, and it ends up being this incredible memoir about her experience navigating the world as a black woman in a largely white world,” said Jenna Wortham, culture writer at New York Times Magazine, on the “Still Processing” podcast in 2019.
“It’s a coping mechanism. It’s like, here’s how I survive, despite all the things that we all come up against,” Wortham added. (Disclosure: I attended a “Becoming” event at Barclays Center in December 2018, and I can attest that for many Black and Brown women, the discussions felt like catharsis for women and minorities living under the Trump administration.)
Now, in the midst of a pandemic, protests against systemic racism, and a crucial election, many people are looking forward to her podcast and the new therapeutic conversations it may provide.
“My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives,” Obama said. “Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations — and hard conversations —with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”
The podcast news follows Obama’s public advocacy for voter access via voting by mail, early in-person voting, and online voter registration as the spread of coronavirus continues to force primary delays and threaten public health. She has also been reading children’s books over free livestreams for kids who are stuck at home.