Barack Obama in a Cultural Context

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is a child of the 1970s. He is one year older than Wesley Snipes.

The number one song when Obama was 18 was Blondie’s Heart of Glass.

He was also 18 when the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” was released. This means he was young enough to have listened to rap in high school.

Sugar Hill Gang

When Obama was at Harvard Law School, Public Enemy dueled with NWA on the hip hop charts.

He probably saw Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever at the Harvard Theater on Church Street, just like I did.


It’s shocking to think about how young Obama is. He’s four years younger than Spike Lee. If fellow Hawaiian Don Ho were still alive, Obama would be 31 years younger than him. Tom Selleck, who played Hawaii’s Magnum P.I., is 16 years older than Obama.

He could very likely be the next president of the United States.

3 Responses to “Barack Obama in a Cultural Context”

  1. PS Says:

    Nice work Seth. It hit me the other night when Obama was asked if he would go negative in response to Hill’s recent barbs, his response was, “Nope. We don’t play that.”

  2. Barks Says:

    That certainly puts things in perspective, Seth. And gives hope that he may even share worldviews with some of the folks in our generation. Is Barack a proclaimed old school rap fan or might he have been up the street at law school jamming along with us to Dead or Alive and Sweet Child O’Mine?

  3. Obama In a Cultural Context II: What the New Yorker Says « Dispatches from Seth Gitell Says:

    […] month, I posted an item about Obama’s place in the broader cultural world. I wrote “He probably saw Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever at the Harvard Theater on Church […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: