Be Right Back, Crying over HBO's Obama Documentary Trailer

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Photo credit: YouTube - HBO
Photo credit: YouTube - HBO


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Five years after leaving the White House, Barack Obama will get the HBO documentary treatment. A three-part work reflecting on the former president's life, work, and political career will arrive in August (just in time for his milestone 60th birthday).

Titled Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, the doc will also dive into the journey of the United States' first Black president "as the country grapples with its racial history." While his election was a historic feat, his tenure as POTUS also "exposed the ever-present need to address deeply entrenched challenges around race, racial justice and our history," according to HBO.

A handful of esteemed guests are set to appear and comment in the series, including the late representative John Lewis and author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Emmy winner Peter Kunhardt, who has a knack for profiling historical figures (Living with Lincoln, Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words, John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls), is directing. Here's what else you need to know.

It premieres August 3.

Obama will debut on HBO on Tuesday, August 3, from 9 to 10:40 p.m. ET. It will also be available to stream online at HBO Max. The second and third parts will air Wednesday, August 4 (the president's birthday), and Thursday, August 5, at the same time. Watch the first trailer above.

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Part one of the series will focus on Obama's early years, including his upbringing by a single mother, his education, and navigating his biracial identity. It'll also highlight his organizing work in Black churches in Chicago.

Part two will cover Obama's presidential run in 2008 and life on the campaign trail. Amid his highs and lows on the road, he also faced "constant pressure to define his identity along racial lines and frustrated by what he saw as a distraction from other important issues," according to a press release.

Part three dives into Obama's challenges in the White House, especially when it came to passing legislation. While he successfully introduced the Affordable Care Act, he and the rest of the country faced growing awareness with issues of police brutality, gun control, and more.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

Who's in it?

Though it seems that Obama himself wasn't filmed for the series (most of his appearances come from archival footage and past interviews), a handful of writers, activists, political leaders, and the president's collaborators appear throughout.

According to HBO, the guests include author Jelani Cobb, Representative John Lewis, political consultant David Axelrod, Rev. Alvin Love, author Michael Eric Dyson, journalist Laura Washington, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, journalist Michele Norris, New Yorker editor David Remnick, Reverend Al Sharpton, professor Cornel West, politician Jesse Jackson, author Ta-Nehisi Coates, NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill, political adviser Valerie Jarrett, professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., actor Keegan-Michael Key, former government official Shirley Sherrod, journalist David Maraniss, professor Ken Mack, speechwriter Jon Favreau, adviser Broderick Johnson, and Representative Bobby Rush.

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