Presidential Production: Barack and Michelle Obama Announce New Netflix Slate, Including a Frederick Douglass Biopic

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: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

In case you needed a reminder, Barack and Michelle Obama became the strongest black leads when they signing an exclusive multiyear production deal with Netflix in 2018.


Now, the time has come to see what they’ve got cookin’ (with ample seasoning, because black) in the production house. The former (and forever) president and first lady announced seven projects on Tuesday, according to the New York Times, and the lineup is quite intriguing.

The new slate is heavy on history, naturally, with a post-World War II drama series entitled Bloom as well as a biopic adapted from the Pulitzer-winning Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight.

The slate also includes documentaries such as Overlooked, based on the NYT series of the same name, which posted obituaries of people whose deaths were previously reported in the newspaper.


For family programming, they’re introducing a half-hour preschool series entitled, Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents—which is a dope-ass title.

The full slate is below:

American Factory, a documentary that examines life in Ohio where a Chinese billionaire opened a factory in a former General Motors plant and hired 2,000 people. Higher Ground Productions described the film, produced by Participant Media and directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, as “early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.” The documentary was already shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and Higher Ground Productions said it would be its first release.

Bloom, a drama series set in post-World War II New York that will explore the “barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress.” It will be produced by Callie Khouri, who wrote “Thelma & Louise.”

A film adaptation of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by David W. Blight. Higher Ground did not announce a screenwriter or any producers.

An adaptation of a New York Times series, called Overlooked, about people whose deaths were previously not reported by the newspaper. The obituaries have been published in a recurring feature in the paper. Higher Ground Productions said it would be a scripted anthology series.

A series based on The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, a book by Michael Lewis.

Crip Camp, a documentary film about the origins of the disability rights movement.

Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents, a half-hour series for preschoolers that will “take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”


I look forward to the POTUS-FLOTUS Cinematic Universe (PFCU).

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.