I was able to watch Becoming, a Netflix documentary featuring former (but more like forever) First Lady Michelle Obama while on tour promoting her book of the same name. The documentary was directed by Nadia Hallgren and was made by Mrs. Obama and President Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, which currently has an exclusive deal with Netflix
I, like a good chunk of the world, have read Mrs. Obama’s book. I also had the opportunity to see her on her Becoming tour during her first night in DC (A DREAM!). If you’ve read the memoir, the documentary is a visual, condensed version of that but also includes footage from some of the tour stops (including the show I went to!), as well as community events, intimate moments with her family and staff, and more.
I’ve already read mixed reviews from news outlets, but I don’t really care. I found it to be a good documentary to inspire and motivate, especially in these crazy times we’re living in right now. And you know me. I always love finding takeaways to share with you all.
Honestly, I was tearing up within the first five minutes of the documentary. Right at the beginning, you see throwback clips of Mrs. Obama and President Obama when he was first elected. Immediately, my mind went back to November 2008, and how huge that moment was. I also teared up thinking about how much she’s done and gone through since her time on that campaign trail. Dang, those were some crazy ups and downs, and I only can imagine the stuff we DIDN’T see.
After becoming First Lady, Mrs. Obama was honored and handled the role with style and grace. However, it came with a lot of expectations, critiques, and, let’s be real, racism and vilification from a country that her husband had been sworn into leading. That’s a lot to go through for anybody and she admitted how tough that was for her. “Your life isn’t yours anymore,” she stated at one point. There were a lot of highs and lows, and that’s documented in the book and documentary.
After saying goodbye to the White House in 2016 (ugh, some of y’all really didn’t know how good we had it!), Mrs. Obama felt free but also was wondering what was next.
After taking some time off with her husband, our Forever First Lady came back stronger than ever with this memoir, youth outreach, and more. The documentary shows her many moments of reflection, as well as all of the behind the scenes logistics in putting an event like that together. It also shows Mrs. Obama discussing how impactful her family has been to who she is today, as well as balancing marriage, her daughters, and her own ambitions.
I became emotional watching other people become emotional when meeting her on these tour stops. I realized just how impactful this woman has been just by being herself—an intelligent, caring, insightful black woman who’s managed to inspire people and give them a sense of hope for the future.
Another cool aspect of the documentary is that it featured a few short segments of young people Mrs. Obama met on tour and gave some insight into their lives as Mrs. Obama encouraged them to be all that they could be. She also spoke with a group of elderly black women in a church book club who expressed their immense pride in her and President Obama and gave advice to her in this new season of her life.
Your story, which may seem like nothing to you, is your power.
Many of the young people Mrs. Obama met during these tour stops were going off to college. One young woman asked how can she and other kids separate themselves from the pack when applying to college. Mrs. Obama encouraged them to focus on figuring out what they really want out of life and sharing their life stories instead of just stats. She encouraged them to be vulnerable and share their stories to help continue to break down barriers. That was relatable to me because there is a great feeling of power in owning your story and sharing that with others. There is so much that we can learn from each other in sharing our life experiences and perspectives. Your story has VALUE. That’s why I share so much on this site!
forget the naysayers.
We all have experienced our share of doubters and shamers in life. If there’s anybody who knows about haters, it’s this woman. Mrs. Obama’s own high school guidance counselor told her she was “dreaming too big” for wanting to go to Princeton University. Let’s all laugh together! While it can be hurtful and naysayers should be called out for their negativity, it’s important not to let them derail you from going after greater things in life.
Don’t just be a “box checker” in life.
As she grew up, Mrs. Obama admitted that she was a bit of a “box checker.” She did all the right things, went to the right schools, studied, got a good job, and ultimately created an amazing life for herself. However, in doing all this, she still had to consider what she really wanted to be in life, where she wanted to go, and how she could be the most impactful. So, while it’s cool to get good grades, get a nice job and house, take care of family, you also should consider what it is you really care about and what kind of legacy you want to leave on this world.
we all are on a constant journey of “becoming.”
Mrs. Obama named this book, Becoming, because she realized that life really is a journey, not a destination. Once you reach one big goal or achievement, there’s always something next for you around the corner. Life doesn’t just end when you reach one peak. That means it’s time to find another one to tackle. That’s what she’s doing in life right now, and I’m proud to continue to watch her use her platform to inspire, encourage, and educate others.
Watch the official trailer for Becoming below.