The Obamas' 20 best pop culture moments
Over their eight years in the White House, Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama undoubtedly left their mark on history, but they were just as ingrained in our entertainment, too. As the 44th president leaves office, we look back on the First Family’s most memorable and meme-able acts.
1. Jan. 20, 2009
We mean no disR-E-S-P-E-C-T to Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen, but the true star of Obama’s inauguration festivities was Aretha Franklin’s Swarovski-crystal-encrusted bow hat, which became an internet sensation.
2 . January 2009
The only thing more amazing than Spidey’s POTUS-saving abilities was how fast this issue of Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man sold out.
3. May 12, 2009
Alexander Hamilton started out as a hard-scrabble immigrant from the Caribbean, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton started out as one rough song, performed solo by the musical-theater star at the White House. The Obamas’ enthusiasm helped the hip-hop bio become a hit and eventually land a spot in the Broadway history books.
4. Dec. 8, 2010
No, we cannot set stuff on fire with Archimedes’ solar ray, but President Obama blew minds with his love of science on Discovery’s MythBusters.
5. May 3, 2011
The First Lady didn’t need anyone to teach her how to Dougie — she joined in on the dance alongside D.C.’s Alice Deal middle schoolers.
6. Feb. 2, 2012
The always health-conscious Michelle went on Ellen and did 25 push-ups, which is approximately 24 more than we can do.
7. Oct. 26, 2012
The leader of the free world met his match in a playful pint-size Spider-Man (otherwise known as a White House staffer’s son).
8. Jan. 21, 2013
Sasha and Malia documented their father’s second inauguration in true millennial form — with a selfie.
9. Feb. 22, 2013
When FLOTUS performed the first “Evolution of Mom Dancing” sketch with Jimmy Fallon on Late Night, she confirmed two things: that her Let’s Move! campaign could also be funny, and that she’s excellent at doing just the hands part of “Single Ladies.”
10. April 24, 2014
Appearing as herself in season 6 of Parks and Recreation, Michelle was on the receiving end of a lovefest from a gobsmacked Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who told her, “I agree with you on all things throughout history and until the end of time…forever.”
11. Feb. 16, 2015
What’s even more delightful than watching the First Lady push a screaming Billy Eichner through a grocery store? Seeing curmudgeonly fan favorite Elena’s pure joy at meeting her.
12. April 25, 2015
POTUS enlisted Keegan-Michael Key’s anger translator, Luther, for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he hilariously cowered when Obama actually raised his voice for once.
13. June 26, 2015
The president’s moving, unexpected rendition of “Amazing Grace” — at the funeral of a mass-shooting victim, with a cadre of ministers singing along behind him — was just that: amazing and graceful.
14. Aug. 14, 2015
Call him the Curator-in-Chief: Obama kicked off his first annual Spotify summer playlist with songs from Florence + the Machine, Talib Kweli, John Legend, and Justin Timberlake.
15. March 10, 2016
While at a state dinner, Sasha proved that even a First Daughter needs a wingwoman. (Especially when Ryan Reynolds is involved.)
16. April 22, 2016
POTUS met Prince George…in his bathrobe! The result was a photo so adorable it could make even Queen Elizabeth smile.
17. April 30, 2016
Obama ended his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner in perfect dramatic fashion: by saying “Obama out!” and dropping his mic like a badass.
18. July 20, 2016
FLOTUS got her freak on with Missy Elliott and James Corden as they sang “This Is for My Girls” — the song Michelle commissioned for her Let Girls Learn initiative — and hits from Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé on Carpool Karaoke.
19. Oct. 3, 2016
With musical performances from soul band the Dap-Kings and R&B upstart Gallant, as well as panels (including one with Leonardo DiCaprio) and interactive exhibits, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue rivaled Austin for coolness during the debut of South by South Lawn, a festival that promoted the arts, science, and social change.
20. Oct. 24, 2016
Not even the Commander-in-Chief is immune to mockery from the Twitterverse. He took to Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets a second time to read some of the most egregious and hysterical, including “Barack Obama is the Nickelback of presidents.”