Michelle Obama jokingly called Barack a ‘negro’ as she interviewed him for first episode of her new Spotify podcast that was released on Wednesday.
The pair were reminiscing over when they met and how Barack, a talented Harvard scholar who ‘could have done anything’, chose to pursue politics and community work rather than chase a high-paying job.
‘Here you were, you could have done anything because of your academic achievement, because you were the number one student at Harvard Law Review, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, top of the class…’ Michelle said nostalgically.
Barack laughed: ‘That’s why you started dating me.
‘You thought I was your meal ticket…. you didn’t know I was going to go out and do some broke…’ before she cut him off.
‘It was like you were running away from the money, I was like “what is wrong with this negro?” she said, with him laughing in the background.
Barack and Michelle met in 1989 when they were both working for a law firm. She joked in her podcast how he took jobs that paid less than anything corporate he could have been doing, saying ‘It was like you were running away from the money, I was like “what is wrong with this negro?”
The pair also said they’d enjoyed spending so much time together in quarantine, with Barack saying: ‘I’ve been loving it.’
The podcast is a partnership between the pair’s production company, Higher Ground, and Spotify.
When they announced it, they said the intention was to offer a platform to voices that were otherwise ignored.
The Michelle Obama Podcast is on Spotify. Barack was her first guest
Barack, Michelle’s first interviewee, jokingly thanked her for having him on the podcast.
The pair also spoke about the George Floyd protests, which they said gave them ‘hope’ and showed that young people are focused on community.
‘When you look at all these young people who have been out there protesting in the wake of the George Floyd murder, that’s their instinct. It’s not uniform and it could still go both ways in this country.
‘It’s like it’s teetering one way or the other in countries all around the world,’ Barack said.
Michelle called him the ‘eternal optimist’ and the ‘yes we can! man’, a reference to his 2008 campaign slogan.
She also spoke about leaving her high-paid job as a corporate lawyer in Chicago in the 1990s to pursue a life in politics, which she said was ‘selfish’ but more rewarding than anything she’d done in the past.
‘I say this to young people – why did I leave corporate law – the truth is it was selfish.
‘I was happier. When I got into the broader community of Chicago, and seeing the inter-connectedness, being involved in the dirt and the grit, I never looked back,’ she said.
Michelle, Barack and their daughters Sasha and Malia in 2004. Michelle said the inspiration for her podcast came as she reflected on their eight years in the White House m
The pair also commented on how divided the country was and how children today are being told one thing around the dinner table but are seeing something else in the corporate world.
‘There’s a different way of parenting but what we didn’t do, we delivered the message at the dinner table.
‘But we didn’t take them to the boardroom, Michelle said.
They also talked about the kind of ‘inheritance’ they wanted to leave for daughters Sasha and Malia, and that their priority was for the girls to live in a fair society.
‘What’s the inheritance we’d like to leave Malia and Sasha more than anything?
‘It would be that they are living in a country that looks after everybody,’ Barack said.
Michelle’s other podcast guests have not yet been announced but she has previously said they will include her girlfriends and relatives.
‘You’ll also hear from many of my girlfriends, the women who’ve always been there with a shoulder to lean on, a perspective to think about, or simply an open line to vent to.
‘In this time of social distancing, it’s more important than ever to invest in the relationships that make us who we are,’ she said in a recent Instagram post about the project.