Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’ Playlist Is Inspirational AF

Craving a musical pick-me-up to help you stay motivated until President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day on Jan. 20? To accompany the release of his memoir, A Promised Land, on Nov. 17, former President Barack Obama dropped a playlist of unforgettable classics that helped him stay inspired during his time in office. Filled with modern-day masterpieces from Black artists like Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, and B.B. King, Barack Obama’s A Promised Land playlist is inspirational AF — and is sure to help you stay energized until current President Donald Trump’s term is over.

The former commander-in-chief is well-known for sharing carefully curated lists of his favorite books and songs, which often put a spotlight on musicians of color. This year, Obama threw things back to the golden era of rock, blues, and jazz, including songs from legendary artists like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Stevie Nicks, Phillip Phillips, and John Coltrane — all of whom played a part in shaping America’s musical landscape and culture for generations to come.

"Music has always played an important role throughout my life — and that was especially true during my presidency," Obama explained in a Nov. 16 Instagram post. Throughout his time in the White House, the former president invited many of his favorite artists, like Stevie Wonder and Gloria Estefan, to conduct afternoon workshops and help inspire young musicians. "There were all sorts of performances I’ll always remember," Obama wrote, adding, "In honor of my book coming out [on Nov. 17], I thought I’d put together a playlist with some of those songs. Hope you enjoy it."

Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land, is the first volume in a series of memoirs that offers a deeply personal, introspective account of his time in office. It extends far back into his past as a young political hopeful, tracking the pathway he paved in becoming America’s first Black president in the White House. "I want to give young people, hopefully, some inspiration," the former president explained in a Nov. 17 interview with Crown Publishing Group. "[I hope] to remind people that our government, our democracy, is not something separate and apart from us, but is something that belongs to us," he added.

No matter how you feel about America’s 44th president, or his legacy in the U.S. political environment, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: his absolutely impeccable taste in music.

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