Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen Share a Frank Discussion About Race in 'Personal' New Podcast Series

Their eight-part podcast is titled Renegades: Born in the USA and launches Monday

Barack Obama; Bruce Springsteen
Barack Obama (left) and Bruce Springsteen. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

Former President Barack Obama is jumping into the podcasting world, partnering with friend and rock 'n' roll icon Bruce Springsteen for a "personal" and "revealing" eight-part Spotify series that premiered its first two episodes Monday.

Renegades: Born in the USA, the second Spotify series from the Obamas' productiom company, will feature the former president, 59, and Springsteen, 71, "in deep and revealing conversation with each other, exploring a wide array of topics including race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America," according to a news release.

In an exclusive clip shared with PEOPLE, Obama and Springsteen have a frank discussion about racism, its poisonous roots in American history and its effects today.

"How do you hold the same country that sent man to the moon with being the same country of Jim Crow?" Springsteen asks Obama. "You don't make peace with that obviously, but how you sort of hold that being the same America?"

The former president replies: "I think that it is, partly, because we never went through a true reckoning — and so we just buried one huge part of our experience and our citizenry in our minds."

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Barack Obama</a>; Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama in 2008. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Bruce Springsteen shares a moment with President <a href="" data-inlink="true">Barack Obama</a>
Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama in 2012. Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Renegades follows former First Lady Michelle Obama's self-titled podcast, launched last July. The Obamas signed a deal with Spotify in 2019 to produce programming.

The first two episodes of Renegades will be available to stream Monday afternoon, after being announced at Spotify's "Stream On" virtual event.

The first episode, "Outsiders: An Unlikely Friendship," recounts how the former president and "Born in the USA" singer became friends during the 2008 presidential campaign, while the second centers around race in the United States.

"It is a personal, in-depth discussion between two friends exploring their pasts, their beliefs, and the country that they love—as it was, as it is, and as it ought to be going forward," the release from Spotify states.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Barack Obama</a> and Bruce Springsteen
Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen in 2012.

After becoming friends more than a decade ago, Springsteen played a farewell concert for Obama upon his exit from the White House in 2017, about two months after Obama awarded the 20-time Grammy Award winner with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"I am the president, he is the boss," Obama said during the ceremony, paying homage to Springsteen's nickname before giving him the award.

Despite their noted friendship, Spotify's latest podcasting duo recognizes that their new venture may still appear strange to some.

"On the surface, Bruce and I don't have a lot in common," Obama says in the introduction during the first episode. "But over the years, what we've found is that we've got a shared sensibility — about work, about family and about America."

Obama adds: "In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that's given us both so much — trying to chronicle the stories of its people, looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning and truth and community with the larger story of America."

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