Barack Obama Announces Netflix Projects That will Focus on ‘Race, Class, and Civil Rights’

US President Barack Obama jokes with Olympians as First Lady Michelle Obama looks on during a ceremony to honor the US 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games teams in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should …
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama announced this week that his Netflix venture with former first lady Michelle Obama would focus on racial and class issues.

The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, has teamed with Netflix to release content for the streaming giant.

“We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday.

“Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all.”

The former first lady also announced the project, saying, “We think there’s something here for everyone — moms and dads, curious kids and anyone simply looking for an engaging, uplifting watch at the end of a busy day. We can’t wait to see these projects come to life — and the conversations they’ll generate.”

Higher Ground is producing a feature film on Frederick Douglass, adapted from David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. Also in the works is a documentary series that adapts Michael Lewis’ “Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy,” the “Moneyball” author’s 2018 best-seller about government servants working under the political appointees of Donald Trump’s administration.

The production company’s first release will be Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s Sundance Film Festival documentary “American Factory,” about a Chinese-owned factory in post-industrial Ohio. Netflix and Higher Ground also acquired Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham’s “Crip Camp,” a documentary about a summer camp for disabled teenager founded in upstate New York in the early 1970s.

The Obamas are also developing an upstairs-downstairs drama set in post-WWII New York titled “Bloom,” and an adaptation of The New York Times “Overlooked” obituary column, about deaths unreported by the paper. A half-hour show for preschoolers titled “Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents” will instruct kids about food.

This project was announced by the former first family last year. Former President Obama said last May that he would use the deal to “train the next generation of leaders.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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