Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions Adds Two More Emmy Wins with ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ and ‘We the People’

Ada Twist Scientist
Courtesy of Netflix

It was a big night for Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, as the company added two more Emmy wins to its collection.

“Ada Twist, Scientist” and “We the People” kicked off Sunday night’s inaugural Children’s & Family Emmy Awards show with wins for Outstanding Preschool Animated Series and Outstanding Short Form Program, respectively. Both Netflix projects fall under their Higher Ground productions banner, which is set up at the streamer.

“Ada Twist” was the first series to be announced out of the overall deal between Netflix and Chris Nee’s (“Doc McStuffins,” “Vampirina”) production company, Laughing Wild. The animated children’s show focuses on eight-year-old Ada Twist, a “young Black scientist who will explore helping people through scientific discovery, collaboration and friendship,” and solves mysteries with the help of her two best friends, Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck.

Nee, who also created “We The People,” talked to Variety about the goals of Laughing Wild and where those interests continue to align with the Obama’s work. Nee said that the goals continue to be “diversity on screen, but also very much diversity behind the scenes.

“On ‘We the People,’ we were so deliberate about who we brought on as directors and artists. In our director slots, we left two slots for up and coming women of color,” Nee said. “It matters because then you’re putting something out in the world where they’re going to then jump a bunch of the steps, make their stuff from their point of view, they’re gonna hire all of the diversity that we need. That’s how we make real change.”

This brings the production company’s total Emmy wins to three. In September, the former U.S. President won an Emmy for his voice work on the Netflix docuseries “Our Great National Parks,” which was also produced through Higher Ground. He narrated all of the series’ five episodes spanning from Patagonia, Chile, to Tsavo, Kenya. The first episode, “A World of Wonder,” was submitted for Emmy consideration.

On the film side, Higher Ground’s “American Factory” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2020. The documentary film followed the intense community skepticism that came to a town in Ohio when a Chinese company opened an automotive glass plant at a former General Motors, highlighting the location’s cultural differences. While the company won the award, the Obamas themselves did not take home an Oscar.