What we’ve learned from watching Becoming

Netflix’s new hit documentary on former FLOTUS Michelle Obama gives us a few valuable lessons on life, love and leadership


If you’ve read Becoming (of course you did) then you’ll be wiping away tears of joy at the release of a new documentary, which premiered earlier this month on Netflix. Because for those of you craving more Michelle Obama, the streaming Gods have answered. The former First Lady’s blockbuster memoir, which sold a staggering 10 million copies by 2019, now lends its name and theme to a new show following her life to date, while throwing in extra nuggets including her 34-stop book signing tour. Produced by the Obama’s own production company Higher Ground, there’s so much to dig into with Becoming, and here are our top takeaways…

It doesn’t shy away from sensitive subjects

It’s a real dose of dopamine during this lockdown - even when it touches on hard-hitting topics. Michelle talks candidly about marriage counselling, postnatal depression and her late father’s illness. There’s an openness teamed with tenderness and wisdom - something Michelle seems to uniquely combine. And on meeting Barack? "A trifling black man, late on the first day," she laughs.

Michelle Obama - Becoming

Being on equal terms with the most powerful man in the world

How do you keep your own identity and integrity when your husband is the President of the United States of America? “One of the things I learned that helped me and I think helped our marriage was that my happiness is not dependent on him making me happy.”

She went onto say: “My relationship with Barack was all about our partnership, if I was going to have an equal voice with this very opinionated man, I had to get myself up. I had to set myself off to a place where I was confident I was going to be his equal."

Michelle Obama - Becoming

How she responded to the ‘angry black woman’ trope with grace

Ugly times are recalled when Michelle talks about how the Obamas coped with being the first black family in the White House. How does Michelle respond? With her usual tact and composure, of course. “Barack and I, through this presidency, through all the lies and stuff they said about us, all we could do is wake up every day and do our jobs, and let our jobs and our lives speak for itself."

Michelle Obama - Becoming

She continues to inspire people everywhere - especially young black women

The most heartwarming moments come when Michelle visits community colleges and meets young students. She has plenty to say to the crowd, especially young black women. "I'm coming down from the mountain top to tell every young person that is poor, working class and was told – regardless of the colour of your skin – that you don't belong: don't listen to them."

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