Southside With You: The Barack and Michelle Story

sswy pic

Tenacity and Courage at its finest

The movie, Southside With You,  premieres in theaters on August 26th. The intriguing account of the first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson share an engulfing display of their tenacity and courage. The film is dramatic and whimsical.


While some consider the couple’s first date a full-day romantic encounter, others would beg to differ seeing that the “date” which wasn’t even labeled as a date by Michelle, until the date was almost over,  a shaky experience for them both.

The art of perseverance.

Tika Sumpter plays the role of Michelle in the movie and does an excellent job portraying Michelle’s interest in Barack which teetered from being impressed and amused, yet met with stiff resistance, due to their working relationship. As Barack’s supervisor at a prestigious law firm in Chicago, Michelle feared falling-in-love with Barack. Notably, one-tough-cookie, Michelle’s continuous display of thick skin in her decision to refrain from dating Barack. So much so, if viewers didn’t know the end of the story one would believe that she didn’t.  Her fear if not met with Barack’s perseverance and witty responses would have ultimately cost her the love of her life.

Newcomer,   Parker Sawyers,  made a raving debut in his role as Barack, who was determined to woo Michelle, with a profound display of assurance refusing to be swayed by Michelle’s stern resistance. Although financially strapped, riding with a hole in the bottom of the passenger’s seat where Michelle sat, his level of confidence was not dismayed. An explicit representation of his tenacity.


Sumpter and Sawyers took us into the world of the couple and within minutes of watching the film, the character portrayals were so intense it was as if the audience were along for that “first date,” with the real Barack and Michelle.

While the film showcased the true love story of the Obama’s, it also shared their drive and ambition for change which they displayed and held each other accountable, and paved the way for the multitude of objectives they would face as President and first lady of the United Staters.

The movie was written and directed by Richard Tanne and executive produced by John Legend. Tika Sumpter was also a producer of the film. A great movie! See trailer.

Tonya Shirelle
Publicist, best-selling author, freelance journalist and speaker, Tonya Shirelle has over 25 years experience in public relations. After working for several Fortune 500 companies including McDonald’s Corporation, and Kmart International Headquarters, she left the corporate arena and pursued her passion for entrepreneurship subsequently founding ES Communications Agency a full-service public relations firm. Her diverse global clientele includes celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, and startups. Tonya uses her out-of-the-box public relations strategies to build successful PR campaigns and create compelling strategies. As a freelance journalist, she has written published articles appearing in local and national publications. In addition to her passion for journalism, public relations, and writing, she is committed to the empowerment of women and youth including working to derail human trafficking across the world.

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