So who is going to see Southside With You? For those out of the loop, it’s the film (in theaters now), which depicts the first date of a young President Barack Obama and young First Lady Michelle Obama.
We sat down with the film’s star and co-producer Tika Sumpter and John Legend, who is the executive producer of the film, to ask them about the movie, the Obamas— and we even asked them for a few dating tips. But our first question to ask them was…Why?
Obviously, President Obama has had a pretty eventful life—from being the first black President of the United States, to catching Osama bin Laden and to passing Obamacare and thus insuring more Americans than ever before.
So, there are probably many aspects of the POTUS’s life and presidency that would make great Hollywood drama for his first major biopic. But when we first heard the plot would center around the Obamas on their first date in the late ’80s in Chicago, our first thoughts, were: “okay, cute, but why?”
“Somebody’s probably going to do [another] biopic that’s more epic,” says John Legend, but adding, “I love that it’s just a slice of [life from] this amazing couple that we’ve known so well. I think it was a great idea to do it this way—not overly ambitious. It’s saying this was a really sweet, special moment that changed history.”
Of course, that epic history has perhaps given us the most powerful example of black love known across the world. And through the film, we get to see how it started—quite normally…over ice cream.
Tika Sumpter, who plays the 25-year-old Michelle Robinson/Obama, says the normalcy of the Obamas’ love story is one that can inspire everyone’s relationship goals. She says everyday people are able to witness their public affection and love for one another. So getting the opportunity to see how that love first blossomed, only helps us to further cement why we love celebrating their love.
By now, we’re already aware that President Obama is pretty charismatic, therefore, we all assumed he was putting the first date mack game on proper. But what will viewers be surprised to discover most about our lovely lady Michelle in the film?
“I think she’s very sarcastic and funny,” says Sumpter. “During that time in the ’80s [in] the work environment, she was surrounded by mostly men and mostly white men, so that’s why she was definitely reluctant at first because she wanted to be taken seriously for who she was and what she had to offer. So, during that time, [she] was probably a little bit tougher.”
So, what did it take to truly win the heart of a confident, funny, intelligent and career-driven Michelle?
Well, you’ll have to see the film (remember, don’t complain about representation, go support black films)…But Legend and Sumpter did give us some dating tips on how to channel your inner-presidential swag in order to appeal to your potential spouse-to-be.
- Put the phone down
“Just more interaction,” Sumpter says. “Texting probably doesn’t help too much nowadays.”
- Find a common ground
“I think [Barack and Michelle Obama] already respected each other’s intelligence,” says Legend.
- Encourage conversation
Legend says, “This date was an epic date, where they talked and talked and got to know each other, and I think that’s how they fell in love.”
- Be patient
“I think,” says Sumpter, “there’s a problem with distractions, with media, and trying to hurry up and get to the goal rather than just allowing the journey to just unfold in learning.”
BMWK, so are you going to watch the film? What other couple would you want to see a romantic movie about?