Barack Obama Includes Bay Area Authors, Movies on Year-End List

Rafael Casal as Miles, Daveed Diggs as Collin and Jon Chaffin as Dez in 'Blindspotting.' (Ariel Nava)

Former President Barack Obama continued a tradition of sharing his favorite books, films and music of the year Friday, including several works by artists from the Bay Area.

"It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved," he wrote in a Facebook post. "It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before."

In the books section of the list, Obama included Tommy Orange's debut novel There There, which follows a cast of Native American characters as their lives converge on a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum; and Oakland-based Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer's American Prison, an account of his time working at a privately-run prison in Louisiana alongside the history of for-profit incarceration in the United States.

For movies, meanwhile, Obama plugged Blindspotting, an Oakland-set and filmed tale of gentrification and police violence co-starring and written by Hamilton star Daveed Diggs and spoken-word artist Rafael Casal. Ryan Coogler's box-office smash Black Panther, which begins and ends with scenes set in Oakland, also received Obama's stamp of approval.

Of the 22 songs on Obama's list of favorite music, only Vallejo-raised H.E.R.'s R&B slow-burner "Could've Been" represents the Bay Area. As the singer reacted to Obama's endorsement on Twitter, "Look mama I made it!"

Like the Golden Globe nominations, Oakland artist Boots Riley's pro-labor comedy Sorry to Bother You was shut out of Obama's list.

Find Obama's entire year-end list here.

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