Review of Michelle Obama’s BECOMING movie on Netflix

The moment the news broke of the coming of Becoming on Netflix, I knew I had to watch it within 48 hours of debut. Guess what? Did it within 24 hours of debut and didn’t watch alone. Infact, it was scheduled as our family movie night of the week. It wasn’t just another movie to watch. It is the movie to watch. With my stand-by book, pen and brains, this article spilled at exactly Midnight Nigerian time.

Spoiler 1- I am a huge fan of Michelle and liable to exaggerate the greatness of this piece. My admiration is due to many reasons that won’t be shared now because sometimes you just love ice- cream and jollof rice and you don’t even know why. In this case, it is both. I know why and I don’t know why.

Spoiler 2- Stop reading now if you don’t want any spoilers. Minimal spoilers included.

From the very first scene of the movie, Michelle took charge of the story with her extensive presence, personalization and story telling and these are some lessons to be learned.

  1. Leadership is service and sacrifice. Michelle narrated how she had to unplug after 8 years in the White house. Those 8 years were years of ‘trying to do everything perfectly’. That hit deep. They weren’t just the 44th POTUS and FLOTUS. They were the very first African American POLOTUS. The sheer weight of that heritage is something they didn’t take lightly. Infact, Michelle narrated she sobbed when she got on the plane after their departure from the white house. Legacy! Such relief! Her Becoming Book tour allowed her to unplug for the first time in a long time.
  2. Family is everything: This is common knowledge right? But not easy to really execute. Michelle’s family was her rock before and after White house. Her personality, character cannot be diffused from such a balanced and centered upbringing she enjoyed from her parents (Fraser and Marian Robinson), brother (Craig), Grandpa and rest of her family. Her heritage forms a strong part of her identity. She will always be ‘Girl from the South Side of Chicago’. In her words ‘Our dinner table was the first table I felt I belonged to’, ‘My parents always made me visible’

 She also paid tribute to her dad who had a way of making everyone feel loved. Touching moments here.

3. Listen to your voice, let your voice be the loudest in your head’. Michelle was told she couldn’t aspire to Princeton, that she wasn’t Princeton material. She eventually went to both Princeton and Harvard and studied law. Whilst there, she faced racism and classism but kept her head up. Lesson: Common! Don’t self-sabotage, when we feel our stories are ordinary, they are not. They are extra ordinary and our super- powers.

4. No matter who your partner is, have your identity: Being married to Barrack Obama meant Michelle had to tone down some of her aspirations for some time to balance the family but she was clear she never wanted to be an appendage to his dreams. She played an active role in his campaign. She carved a niche for herself with several awards for her Becoming book and Grammy award for best spoken word album. As First lady, she defined and led her own 4 initiatives centered on education and healthy eating. In her words ‘Equal voice to Barrack means partnership, I needed to be his equal and my happiness is not dependent on him making me happy’.

5. People will try to bring you down but stay high. If people could attack the first African American first lady of America, why wouldn’t they do same to you? She was labelled ‘Angry black woman’ and ‘Masculine’ but she realized she had to tell her own story which she did and keeps doing to build her image.  In her words:

 ‘ I had to become strategic on how I present myself because that would define me for the rest of my life’

 ‘ We knew we had too much power to be careless with our words’

 It was tough but when they went low, we went high’.

6. Train your children: As basic as this seems, their children laid their beds and did their laundry even in the White house.

7. Be ‘Good people’: The ease of relationship between Michelle and her staff was clear. They felt comfortable around her. She said thank you to them for the little things and they shared good times singing, dancing and just being ‘good people’. Key lesson here is to be pleasant with people that work for you no matter, how ‘little’ they are. If the POTUS and LOTUS danced, please dance.

8. Keep the romance going: During some of her tours, Barrack Obama pulled some romantic stunts which won’t be disclosed here. Please, go watch it!

Overall, it is a story of grit, identity, vulnerability and authenticity. When it ended, I wished it just started.

Dear reader,

Dare to be vulnerable, you have to believe your story is valuable.

I decided to be vulnerable like Michelle Obama advised by sharing one of my Becoming stories here.

I did a Michelle Obama inspired photo shoot for my 2019 birthday. I never posted all these \side by side\ pictures because I felt it was a bit too much! A bit too ”shadowy and stalker-like” but posting today after 12 months. It is a case of preparation means opportunity and cannot think of a better time to release these. Tolu.

To celebrate Michelle Obama’s Becoming movie, i posted my first ”vulnerable” Tik tok video mimicking Michelle’s words. These words are dedicated to her and hope it inspires her like she inspires millions.

This is my #Becoming story and I hope it inspires you to do something you’ve doubted for a while! Do leave a comment on how this article impacted you please. Will you watch the movie this week? Or next?  Will you share your Becoming story?

Cheers

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Tolu Adedeji, is a seasoned Marketing Director, with over 16 years of experience across brands and countries. She also sits on the board of one of the biggest multinational companies in the world., located in Nigeria. She is the author of Smart Sindara, the adventure series. She is a trustee of the Caring Friends foundation and an advisory of Irede Foundation. She is passionate about building brands, businesses, and empowering children, youths and women. She also cares a lot about children living with special needs. When she is not working, she loves spending time with family and dancing.

18 Comments

  1. Everything you said here was Spot On!!!! I need to go do my own Michelle Obama’s Photo session as well. Now I need to take a second look at this TikTok oooo… 🤣🤣🤣 Very lovely piece. Thank you for sharing

  2. This is a beautiful take on the movie. Just reading this brings the movie to life in a different view.
    Your pictures are inspiring too… might try something like that for my annual profile shoot. My own muse would be Warren Buffet though. Thank you Mrs Adedeji.

  3. When I learnt Mrs Tolu had done a review on Michelle’s ‘Becoming’, I couldn’t wait a second before reading it as much as I want to see the video too. This seem to me l like my two inspiring and admirable persons encapsulated in one. I just love them. “I know why and I don’t know why”….Lol.
    I just finished reading this and I’m seeing the movie right after. But I just needed to drop this comment first. This story review lifted my spirit and most importantly dared me to be anything I want to be. That I can draw strength out of my weakness. And also to make happen my long delayed plans, I have no reason to doubt my capabilities or hold back anything! I am Becoming!

  4. Thank you for summarising your learning points in a precise manner which makes for easy reading. I plan to read her book at some point this year as I’m inspired by the achievements of her and her husband.

  5. Wow! I can’t wait to watch it too. Michelle is one of the most gracious leaders I know and she keeps showing the world a great example to follow.

    I’m learning everyday to let go of my insecurities and be vulnerable enough to share my experiences and learn from the experiences of others, it’s reassuring to see you do that too.

    The TikTok video is powerful! 👏👏

  6. Amazing review Tolu. The part that got me is “your story is valuable”. This is really true. And no one can tell our story better than us. ⁣

    I will put more effort into owning and telling my story.

  7. Having read the book BECOMING, I can definitely relate with this. Key take outs for me are Family is everything and always make out time no matter how busy, and lastly, have your own Identity regardless of who your partner is. Thank you for sharing ma’am

  8. This review has watered my appetite for seeing this movies this weekend.

    Vulnerability Not equal to weakness!

    Thank you for sharing, Tolu.

  9. 1. One can be an all round success. No dream cannot be achieved if one is ready to pay the price it takes to achieve it

    2. There is a ”yes, I can” voice inside every individual. This voice needs to be paid attention to irrespective of what people or the environment are saying.

  10. In her book, Michelle appreciated the immense contribution of her personal staff to their overall success at the White House. A lesson for some who often ignore the contributions of their subordinates and domestic staff in their success journey

  11. Very powerful lessons simply stated. I really loved the point about having your voice no matter who your partner is. Same applies to being in a team, I think it’s key to have your voice heard clearly. I would also like to see this lessons shared on a platform such as Linkedin where many people can also benefit. More grace ma

  12. “If Tolu can have a tik tok video why won’t i”. It reaffirmed that i should never forget the place of family on the road to success; always believe i am special and treat people with dignity and respect regardless of position

  13. Thank you! It is nice to learn more about Michelle Obama! She is an inspiration! I was surprised to see that her children did the laundry……in the white house! Sometimes when we have a certain level of life we forget about the basis! The little things that will increase your Independence and help you later in life! Michelle Obama never forgot the basis, she never forgot where she came from! Hence why she never forgot where she was going!

  14. I enjoyed every bit of it. I appreciate the fact that we are realising the need to be more human and enjoy every moment whilst still aiming and smashing our targeted goals.

    Cheers to Becoming and breaking the norm!

  15. Thanks for encapsulating the key learnings so beautifully ma. She is truly inspiring and a great example to aspiring female leaders, wives and moms.

    Also thanks for sharing your #becoming story and tik tok video. Very refreshing!

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