Michelle and Barack Obama discuss community, politics on her Netflix podcast premiere

Michelle Obama invited her husband, former President Barack Obama, to be the first guest on her new podcast

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Michelle Obama had a very special guest for the inaugural episode of her Netflix podcast – her husband, former president Barack Obama. On the new show, the couple discussed their hopes and concerns for the nation.

The Obamas, in their first publicized one-on-one conversation, discussed their humble beginnings to kick off the “The Michelle Obama Podcast” which premiered Wednesday on Spotify, CNN reported. The nine-episode series will focus on candid conversations.

Read More: Michelle Obama to host podcast on Spotify

On the premiere, Barack shared how his time at Harvard University, where they both earned law degrees, gave him the “credentials and security” to be effective as a community organizer.

Michelle Obama thegrio.com
Credit: Higher Ground Productions)

“I think I figured out once I got to school that if I am chasing after my own success, that somehow, I am going to end up alone and unhappy,” he said.

“And that’s why I ended up going into community organizing and the work that I was doing because when I thought about how I want to spend my life, what I looked at was what those civil rights workers had done…And the freedom riders had done. And I thought, you know, that looks like hard work but it never looks like lonely work. That looks like hard and risky work but it never looks like selfish, isolated, meaningless work.”

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Michelle described the loneliness she felt working as a junior associate at Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago. She worked on the 47th floor and earned a high wage but felt disconnected from the neighborhoods of Chicago’s South Side she’d grown up in.

“It felt isolating. And you know, I had this amazing view of the southeast side of the city from my office,” she said.

 “I could see the lake and I could see all of the neighborhood that had I come from. And I never felt further from that neighborhood than when I was sitting in that office working on briefs and cases that had nothing to do with anything that helped a broader group of people outside of myself.”

Michelle Barack Obama Netflix podcast thegrio.com
(Credit: Michelle Obama/Higher Ground Productions)

Their conversation, which spanned 49 minutes, also touched upon the younger generation. The couple reflected on the kind of society they wanted their daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, to grow up in.

“More than anything, what it would be is that they’re living in a country that respects everybody and looks after everybody, celebrates and sees everybody,” Barack said. “Because we know that if we’re not around, but those girls are in a society like that, they’ll be fine.”

Read More: Michelle Obama encourages NBA, WNBA players to use their platform to promote voting

Michelle Barack Obama thegrio.com
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama participate in the unveiling of their official portraits during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Michelle said she worried that the younger generation was put off by politics and thus did not want to get involved in making changes.

“The only thing that worries me… I hear too many young people who question whether voting, whether politics, is worth it,” she said.

The former commander-in-chief agreed but feels that they’ve been told that the government just doesn’t work for them.

“The danger for this generation is that they have become too deeply cynical in government, not understanding that all government is, is us collectively making decisions together,” Barack said.

But he still believes that young people will ultimately become more active in making a difference in the world.

“I think folks are going to do the right thing,” he said.

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