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Barack Obama's 2019 Favorites

Barack Obama, the former President of the United States, has made it a tradition to share his favorite songs, movies, and books that he has enjoyed for the past year. He did this while in the White House, and he hasn’t stopped since! One of the best parts of his Favorite List is the fact that not all of the items listed are well known! For example, he has “Mood 4 Eva’ by Beyonce, who pretty much everyone knows, but he also features songs by artists like Mavis Staples, Sharon Van Etten, and Joe Henry, who are not as well known as Beyonce. Obama doesn’t just wait until the end of the year to share his favorites, he also posts his Summer Playlist and Summer Reading List! If the book or song is really good, it will also make it to his final list at the end of the year. This year, Obama said that “...each of us has plenty that keeps us busy -- work and family life, social and volunteer commitments -- outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences”, hoping that his list can help enrich the lives of those who decide to take one of his suggestions.


One of my favorite things about Obama is how relatable he is! His list of favorite songs has several of my favorite songs, which is super cool in my opinion. I also appreciate his taste in music that I don’t know, because they give me the opportunity to try new music!

  • "Playing Games" by Summer Walker

  • "Not" by Big Thief

  • "Go DJ" by Kaytranada feat. Sir

  • "Juice" by Lizzo

  • "Redesigning Women" by The Highwomen

  • "Anybody" by Burna Boy

  • "Burning" by Maggie Rogers

  • "Baila Baila Baila (Remix)" by Ozuna featuring Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Farruko, and Anuel AA

  • "Different Kind of Love" by Adia Victoria

  • "Change" by Mavis Staples

  • "Toast" by Koffee

  • "Oblivions" by The National

  • "Binz" by Solange

  • "Seventeen" by Sharon Van Etten

  • "Middle Child" by J. Cole

  • "Jícama" by Angelica Garcia

  • "Go" by The Black Keys

  • "La Vida Es Un Carnaval (Rollo Tomasi Remix)" by Angélique Kidjo

  • "Show Me Love" by Alicia Keys feat. Miguel

  • "Joke Ting" by Goldlink featuring Ari Pensmith

  • "Old Town Road (Remix)" by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Cyrus

  • "cold/mess" by Prateek Kuhad

  • "Suge" by DaBaby

  • "Hello Sunshine" by Bruce Springsteen

  • "In My Room" by Frank Ocean

  • "Iron Man" by Rema

  • "The London" by Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott

  • "Raleighwood Hills" by LesTheGenius featuring Sonny Miles and Jaxson Free

  • "Pure Water" by Mustard featuring Migos

  • "3 Nights" by Dominic Fike

  • "The Fact of Love" by Joe Henry

  • "Con Altura" by Rosalía

  • "I Want You Around," by Snoh Aalegra

  • "On Chill" Wale featuring Jeremih

  • "Mood 4 Eva" by Beyoncé


For this 2019 list of his favorite books, Barack Obama’s list contains a wide range of novel genres, from historic non-fiction, literary novels, and even nooks for those who enjoy sports.

  • "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" by Shoshana Zuboff

  • "The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company" by William Dalrymple

  • "Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee" by Casey Cep

  • "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo

  • "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present" by David Treuer

  • "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell

  • "Lost Children Archive" by Valeria Luiselli

  • "Lot: Stories" by Bryan Washington

  • "Normal People" by Sally Rooney

  • "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson

  • "The Yellow House" by Sarah M. Broom

  • "Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland" by Patrick Radden Keefe

  • "Solitary" by Albert Woodfox

  • "The Topeka School" by Ben Lerner

  • "Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion" by Jia Tolentino

  • "Trust Exercise" by Susan Choi

  • "We Live in Water: Stories" by Jess Walter

  • "A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney's Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule" by Jim Rooney

  • "The Sixth Man" by Andre Iguodala


In my personal opinion, it makes me feel better about my life to know that Barack Obama has taken time out of his schedule to watch movies! Now I can watch Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ without feeling too bad! For his 2019 List of Movies, he features Netflix documentaries, critically review documentaries, as well as Just Mercy, a movie about Bryan Stevenson and his fight to save Walter McMillian from death row in Alabama.

  • "American Factory"

  • "Amazing Grace"

  • "Apollo 11"

  • "Ash is Purest White"

  • "Atlantics"

  • "Birds of Passage"

  • "Booksmart"

  • "Diane"

  • "The Farewell"

  • "Ford v Ferrari"

  • "The Irishman"

  • "Just Mercy"

  • "The Last Black Man in San Francisco"

  • "Little Women"

  • "Marriage Story"

  • "Parasite"

  • "The Souvenir"

  • "Transit"


Due to his busy schedule, I am assuming that Obama doesn’t have much time to commit to a TV show, which might explain why his list for TV show favorites is so short!

  • "Fleabag: Season 2"

  • "Unbelievable"

  • "Watchmen"

All in All, I think it’s amazing that Obama continues to share his favorite songs, books and TV shows, and I think that it gives us a little glimpse into what he does in his free time! I have seen several books that I am going to try and read in 2020, and I hope that you all have seen something that captured your attention and that you give it a try in 2020!

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