The Obamas Buy Martha’s Vineyard Estate from Boston Celtics Owner for $11.75 Million

LEVEL UP: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, pictured here Oct. 29, reportedly closed on an $11.75 million palatial mansion on Martha’s Vineyard.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Life will be a beach for Black America’s Forever First Family.

Barack Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama are the proud new owners of a sprawling property on Martha’s Vineyard, a tony enclave on the coast of Massachusetts.


According to the Vineyard Gazette, sale of 6,892-square-foot house situated on 29.3 secluded acres, was completed this week.

The listing price of the home, which was built in 2001, was a whopping $11.75 million.

But it still came as a steal compared to the original asking price.

On the market for four years, the home was originally listed for $22.5 million but dropped twice this summer, first to $16.25 million in June, then to $14.85 million in July, the outlet reported.


Private equity investor and Boston Celtics owner Wycliffe Grousbeck and his wife Corinne Basler Grousbeck were listed as the sellers.


With vaulted, beamed ceilings, the beach house-styled property is located in the coastal perimeter of Edgartown.

In 2018, described the property—which has seven bedrooms, eight and a half baths, stone fireplaces, a two-car garage, a detached barn and a pool —as “clean and modern—yet traditional.”


The 44th U.S. president and his family have vacationed on “The Vineyard” throughout his two terms as the history-making leader of the free world.

For decades, the Massachusetts isle has been a coveted destination for the glitterati and upper crust blacks—and the people who love them.


Hollywood notables Spike Lee, Reese Witherspoon, David Letterman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rosie O’Donnell have been spotted on or own homes on the island, according to

Scenes from the classic shark movie Jaws and its sequels were filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, alongside the 1995 remake of Sabrina and the 2003 Matt Damon comedy Stuck On You.


The Inkwell, Matty Rich’s 1994 coming of age film —starring Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Joe Morton, Duane Martin, Vanesa Bell Calloway and Morris Chestnut — also took place on Martha’s Vineyard.

The critically-panned, 1970s set movie exposed a slice of affluent black family life on the island and is named after the popular Inkwell Beach, favored by black residents and visitors.


In a 2017 New Yorker magazine article, journalist and PBS NewsHour special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault wrote “that it was called Inkwell because it always filled with people of color” and because many of the town’s most well-known people, who were writers, hung out there.

Former President Clinton and his family were making trips to Martha’s Vineyard for years, along with other dignitaries, including Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte.


But the Obamas’ ownership marks the very first time a former president actually bought a property on the island.

“It’s so incredibly exciting that the Obama family has purchased a home on the island,” jewelry designer Ashley Alston told The Root on Saturday.


Since 2014, the burgeoning socialite has owned a family home in the popular Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard, which is considered a summer playground for the elite.

“Their ownership adds another very meaningful layer to the history of African Americans not only visiting but also owning property in this very special place.”


In a May 2019 story for Narratively, writer Genelle Levy noted how Martha’s Vineyard became “a haven for African-Americans during the mid-20th century when Jim Crow laws and segregation meant that black vacationers were often turned away from mainstream beaches and hotels.”

“Black people want to feel worthy,” writer Elizabeth Gates told the site.

The daughter of celebrated African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. added: “We want to feel like we belong.”


Noelle C. Bonham has vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard for more than two decades.

The Brooklyn native said she has experienced firsthand the fanfare of the Obamas descending onto the island every August since day one.


“I’m sure for the full-time residents have their own opinions but they’ve been summering on the island for so long now they are part of the community,” she shared.

“They stay up island so you see them when they come in town and while they can still cause a stir, I mean we love them, so we take it in stride,” she added.


Bonham, a membership director of a prominent women’s nonprofit organization in Washington DC, said since they’ve been there, The Vineyard has increased in popularity.

“Some years, the island appears overcrowded for weeks at a time during the summer, but the magic of the Vineyard makes it worth the hassle of the crowds.”

US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha walk to board Air Force One at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts on August 21, 2016 as they depart for Washington after a two-week holiday at nearby Martha’s Vineyard.
Photo: Getty Images

“The Obama’s becoming residents will have some impact but hell, a casino is being planned at this moment so them being on island is the least of folks’ worries compared to when folks start coming by the busload to play those slot machines on the reservation.,” she said.

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Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!