Barack Obama Can Break Up With America, But Not Pop Culture

Photo: Randy Holmes/Getty.
When Barack Obama boarded Air Force One for the last time on January 20, he left quite a legacy behind him. From health care reform to unemployment lows and an unwavering support for reproductive health care and LGBT equality, Obama wasn’t a President that we’ll soon forget. But policies and executive actions aside, there is plenty that sets Barack Obama apart from those who’ve had the POTUS title before him.

Obviously, he was the first Black President of the United States. He’s stylish and witty. His use of social media in both his campaigns is unprecedented. He’s a guaranteed hit on the late night TV circuit. And his celebrity connections include everyone from Ellen to DJ Khaled. Obama’s close relationship to pop culture has been a topic of interest since his first presidential campaign. He is undeniably the coolest President to ever do it.

In fact, I think that title lends itself to Obama making a transition from pop culture affiliate to pop culture icon himself. There is certainly proof that he already has one foot in the door. Already, we’re obsessing about his backward hat and kitesurfing. We’re low-key begging TMZ to continue to capture more candid images of him and Michelle on vacation. His likeness is the stuff of meme gold. His oldest daughter Malia has already snagged several internships in the entertainment industry that actual film students would kill for. And there isn’t a single celebrity that’s worth mentioning that wouldn’t give him a co-sign.

For most former presidents, their foray into popular culture post-White House is typically limited to a couple of books and the occasional television appearance to comment on the current political climate. But if Obama’s successor can claim reality TV star and internet troll as their primary talents, then there’s certainly no limits on what Obama and his family can do now that he’s out of office.

I’m ready for Barack and Michelle to present an award at the Oscars or host the Soul Train Awards (a Black girl can dream). I fully expect Malia to announce that she’s been dating a rapper after she settles into Harvard. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Sasha Obama decided to forgo college altogether in order to pursue a music career. Michelle Obama can pretty much request a slot at OWN to do whatever she wants on live television. And I personally feel like a post-presidential reality show about Barack’s transition back into civilian life is exactly what we need right now.

With his presidency, Obama proved that he had the experience to run the country, and the personality to dominate my DVR. I just pray that he follows this destiny.
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