Review: “The Michelle Obama Podcast” Offers Insight and Guidance During a Time of Need

Rachel Gauer, Page Editor

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has kept busy since she and her family left the White House in 2017; she published the book Becoming in 2018 and released a Netflix documentary under the same name in May of 2020. Both works did incredibly well: her deeply personal autobiography became the most purchased book in the United States in 2018, while her documentary, Becoming, on Netflix received a high rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, Obama has produced yet another successful work: The Michelle Obama Podcast. The Spotify-exclusive show consists of many sit-down and intimate discussions about an array of topics, with several different significant people in Obama’s life. Within the episodes, each interviewee provides a different perspective on general life themes and current events in an entertaining yet educating way.

In her first episode, Michelle Obama interviews her husband and former President Barack Obama, and it is undoubtedly the highlight of the season. Although the conversation itself has several references to politics and political views, the two keep their conversation applicable and interesting to all audiences. This episode is at an advantage because of the relaxed yet captivating chemistry between Mr. and Mrs. Obama: their conversation flows effortlessly with several laughs and jokes in between each insight. The intimate, casual atmosphere that they create in the episode gives the listeners a new, refreshing perspective on the Obamas and their day-to-day life, regardless of their political beliefs. Though they discuss their own experiences, they are able to universalize their messages to apply to all people in all stages of life. In discussing a wide range of topics, including the role of family, the United States government, and their differing upbringing, the Obamas successfully entertain in an insightful yet personable manner.

“Protests and the Pandemic with Michele Norris” is the next significant episode, and it digs deep into our current world; however, it is significantly different from the casual Barack Obama interview. Obama and Michele Norris, an African-American journalist with The Washington Post, focus on current situations regarding the pandemic, essential workers, and the shelter in place order. They each are able to provide insightful perspectives on their own lives and the general state that Americans are in right now; however, there is a lack of conversational flow between Norris and Obama. Though several instances within the episode lack colloquial comments, the incredible insight that the conversation provides saves the episode. Norris and Obama also discuss the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. Though this portion of the discussion is more political than the rest of the show, they are each incredibly respectful and share their personal experiences growing up as black women in America. Throughout the conversation, they each provide remarkable outlooks on present-day America. In discussing such current yet urgent issues, the episode results in a beautifully created timepiece of our current world.

Overall, The Michelle Obama Podcast offers entertaining yet informative content from one of the most influential American women in the 21st century so far. Its conversational style is easy to follow and provides the audience with new insight on several important topics and gives some personal insight and information about the former First Lady herself.