Presidential Picks

Obama Had Love for Houston in 2019

Here are all the Houstonians who made 44's famous year-end lists of favorites.

By Abby Ledoux December 30, 2019

Houstonians past and present got a lot of love from #44 this year.

As is tradition for our most woke former President, Barack Obama released his favorite literature, movies, and music of the year, and we couldn't help but notice that 2019's lists were chock-full of art created by Houstonians.

Once again, Obama's picks are diverse across the board—spanning cultures, languages, and genres, from country to reggaeton and provocative documentaries to Netflix originals. It's also worth noting that Fleabag season two made the former POTUS's list, which ostensibly means he watched Fleabag season one, which means...well, if you know, you know, and if you don't, click here.

But we're not here to talk about the fact that Obama loved the remix to "Old Town Road" or Little Women—which he did—but rather Houston's healthy representation on this year's lists. Notably, Obama previously included Travis Scott's "Butterfly Effect" in his 2017 playlist, which also featured his personal friend and our regional treasure Beyoncé.

Both artists are again accounted for on this year's list of favorite music (Scott for his feature on "The London" with Young Thug and J. Cole; Bey for her Lion King anthem "Mood 4 Eva"), and now they're joined by Solange ("Binz") and Lizzo ("Juice"). Take a moment to imagine our 44th president singing along to "it ain't my fault that I'm out here gettin' loose / gotta blame it on the Goose / gotta blame it on my juice, baby." You earned it.

Houston authors also fared well this year, writing three of Obama's favorite booksBryan Washington's Lot: Stories, Jia Tolentino's Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, and Susan Choi's Trust Exercise, which also won the National Book Award.

Plus, we have to give honorable mention to Apollo 11 on Obama's list of favorite movies—the 2019 documentary from Todd Douglas Miller and CNN Films takes viewers back to 1969 with never-before-seen footage and audio recordings of NASA's historic mission, which we can at least partially claim as the home of human spaceflight and all.

So, political leanings aside, Houstonians must hand it to him: Obama's got good taste.

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