Michelle Obama joins musician Jon Batiste to celebrate new Netflix film

 December 10, 2023

During a noteworthy appearance last week, former first lady Michelle was photographed in the company of renowned singer, songwriter and composer Jon Batiste at an event honoring the new Netflix film entitled American Symphony, as the Times-Picayune reports.

The event was held at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans and marks Mrs. Obama's role as an executive producer of the project through Higher Ground Productions, an enterprise founded together with former President Barack Obama back in 2018.

Glamorous celebration

Michelle Obama joined Batiste as well as those who led the production of the film, gracing the red carpet event at which photographers and media members jostled for access.

Once attendees were settled into the main theater space, the former first lady introduced the documentary project and those featured in it, doing so in hopes of generating some local buzz for the film that is now available on the streaming platform.

Following a screening of the project, which follows the extraordinary highs and lows faced by the musician and his wife -- writer Suleika Jaouad -- as she battled a recurrence of cancer, Batiste himself delivered a short piano performance, to the delight of those on hand.

It was then that Helena Moreno of the New Orleans City Council made an official presentation of a city proclamation deeming Dec. 7 “Jon Batiste Day” in the Big Easy.

Profound story told on film

As NBC News notes, the story told in American Symphony is one that will surely tug at the heartstrings, as it chronicles the Batiste-Jaouad couple's experiences during 2022 – a year when the musician notched a series of incredible career triumphs, which were balanced by the return of his partner's life-threatening illness.

Speaking during one of the film's many poignant scenes, Jaouad explains, “It feels like we're living a life of contrasts,” referencing Batiste's hard-fought industry successes, which were balanced by the grueling nature of her cancer treatments.

Though the original plan for the film was to document the translation of Batiste's unique musical stylings to the power of a full symphony orchestra, Jaouad's health battle took the production in a different, moving direction.

Having premiered earlier this year at the Telluride Film Festival, many believe the documentary could be in the running for Oscar consideration.

Full plate for former first lady

Last week's appearance in New Orleans was just another part of Mrs. Obama's packed schedule, with the former first lady also recently traveling to Malawi and South Africa with fellow philanthropists Melinda Gates and Amal Clooney to advocate for the elimination of child marriage in impoverished parts of the world, as the BBC noted.

Expressing her optimism about the joint initiative, Mrs. Obama said of child marriage, “It is an issue that can be solved tomorrow. It could happen in less than a generation.”

With every high-profile public appearance, speculation only seems to grow about what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has suggested is the very real possibility that Michelle Obama will be tapped by the Democratic Party to serve as a replacement presidential candidate in 2024 if and when Joe Biden drops out of the race.

To date, Mrs. Obama has not expressed an interest in seeking the Oval Office but given Biden's sinking prospects and her own popularity among large segments of the electorate, those on the liberal side of the aisle may yet persuade her to take one for the team.

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