Are you surprised at all that former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are cashing in on books and public speaking engagements?
Michelle’s autobiography “Becoming” is a memoir about her time in the White House and it sold more copies than any other book published in the U.S. in 2018 and it shattered that record in just 15 days.
And now the Obamas are going full Hollywood with this move.
Once former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama left office they went on what seemed like a three-month vacation where Barack went parasailing in the Virgin Islands and then both of them joined Hollywood celebrities like Tom Hanks, Oprah and Bruce Springsteen on a 450-foot super yacht in Tahiti.
Once their vacation was over they snagged book deals that earned them $60 million right off the bat.
The Obamas’ production arm Higher Ground Productions just announced what’s in their specific slate that they “hope” will “educate, connect and inspire us all.”
Over the next several years, the company will produce a feature film on Frederick Douglass, which is adapted from David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography.
But Higher Ground’s first release will be Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s Sundance Film Festival documentary “American Factory,” about a Chinese-owned factory in post-industrial Ohio.
“Bloom” is an upstairs/downstairs drama series set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City that depicts barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era characterized by both hurdles and progress. It is written and executive produced by Khouri (“Nashville,” “Thelma and Louise”), from an idea developed by Khouri, writer-director Clement Virgo (“The Book Of Negroes,” “The Wire,” “Empire”) and novelist and producer Juliana Maio (“City of the Sun”). Higher Ground Productions, Khouri, Virgo and Maio will executive produce the series.
Higher Ground and Netflix also acquired “Crip Camp,” a documentary from Jim Brecht and Nicole Newnham about a summer camp for disabled teenagers founded in upstate New York in the early 1970s.
The good news is about these first films from the Obamas is that none of them will seemingly bash President Trump like many expected they would – using Netflix as the gateway to perpetuate a message that defies his presidency. Netflix reaches over 125 million subscribers in 190 countries.
However, you have to remember this is just the beginning of Higher Ground.
Barack said, “We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects. Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain but will educate, connect, and inspire us all.”
The Obamas tapped Annapurna Pictures executive Priya Swaminathan and Chernin Entertainment’s Tonia Davis to be co-heads of Higher Ground Productions along with the forty-fifth President of the United States and his wife.
Barack and Michelle will probably play their hand on putting out a slate of damaging movies or TV shows about criticizing President Trump until he’s out of office – whether that be January 2021 or January 2025.
The former president has actively avoided talking directly about Trump but he speaks in ambiguous code directed at the current administration.
They’ll probably just wait.