Uncovering HBO Docuseries, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union

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Uncovering HBO Docuseries, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union

Uncovering HBO Docuseries, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union

It’s evident how impactful the Obama family has been to the public. Even though Barack Obama’s tenure as 44th president of the United States already ended last 2017, the legacy of him and his wife, Michelle, continue to live on. The power couple has been consistent in releasing content for avid fans and followers to devour. Michelle’s hit documentary and bestselling novel, Becoming, has been a worldwide sensation, while Barack’s recent podcast collaboration with rock star, Bruce Springsteen, Renegades: Born in the USA, has also been a crowd favorite. Fans who just can’t get enough of the Obama’s need not look no further. HBO has come out with an original documentary called, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union.

What Is the Series About?

The three-part docuseries goes all the way back to when President Obama was still in the White House. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Peter Kunhardt (JFK: In His Own Words) first started working on it in 2014, and made it his mission to capture the former president’s personal and political journey as truthfully as possible. Another vital person behind the camera is New Yorker writer and docuseries executive producer, Jelani Cobb, who spent the past four years discovering and researching never-before-seen archival footage of President Obama. Kunhardt also interviewed Cobb, together with numerous others who either played important roles inside the Obama administration, or who provided fresh takes on what the two-term presidency really meant for America. Some of the other respondents include, former senior advisor Valerie Jarret, chief strategist and former senior advisor David Axelrod, philosopher and progressive activist Cornel West, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Al Sharpton, and the late Congressman John Lewis.

Viewers might initially find it hard to believe that even though the docuseries revolves around the life and legacy of the former president, he is not interviewed in any of the episodes. Instead, viewers will get to see candid footages of Obama in different stages of his life, as he goes along his work and personal tasks. The show’s creators ventured into this passion project with the intent to inspire. They didn’t need to create another documentary that glorified the former president, there are loads of material and testimonies that already do. This time around, viewers are given front row seats to the strategic analysis of Obama’s rise to power, and how his journey in becoming the first Black president of the United States symbolizes a powerful shift in the American political landscape.

The docuseries is broken down into three parts, and divides the course of Obama’s journey into the different timelines in his life. In the first installment, viewers are introduced to a laidback kid from Hawaii, who got the brains and talent to pursue law in Harvard University, and eventually begin a promising political career. The chronological depiction of Obama’s life events takes on a raw and real approach, which allows viewers to witness his journey sans the rose-colored glasses. In an attempt to be as authentic as possible, Kunhardt and his team do not shy away from the harsh reality of the campaign journey that was largely focused on Obama’s African American heritage. The series featured the cringeworthy campaign moments, which involved unnecessary interviews that focused on the candidate’s Blackness instead of his reforms and platforms, as well as the fair share of controversial issues that also surrounded Obama’s own campaign team.

The second installment focuses on Obama’s presidential run. The electrifying campaign trail, paired with the equally thrilling response of the American public, marked the beginning of a new era. The eloquent speeches and promises of change served as a beacon of hope in trying times. Although some critics do not fully believe that Obama’s attempt at unifying the American people appeased the existence of white privilege, it was hard to deny that watching the entire campaign run was also like witnessing history in the making. The third and last installment wraps everything up neatly. It focuses on each of Obama’s two presidential terms, and depicts how he eases into his role as the forefront of the most powerful nation in the world. The documentary also recalled the horrific events that happened during the second term of the Obama administration, such as the Charleston Church shooting and murder of Trayvon Martin, in which the public saw the president lower his guard and show immense compassion. It’s only natural for people to have opposing views, but at the end of the day, the multi-layered docuseries was able to tell a compelling and comprehensive story of the Obama administration, that has indeed broken borders and made a huge difference in the world. Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union first premiered in August 3, 2021, and is currently available on HBO.

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