Five Quick Thoughts About The Stills From The Barack And Michelle Date Movie » VSB

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Five Quick Thoughts About The Stills From The Barack And Michelle Date Movie



Yesterday, two stills were released from Southside With You, the movie depicting the President and the First Lady’s first date. I have some thoughts about this.

1. A friend and I used to joke about each other being a “big deal.” Sometimes it would happen in conversation (“Waitress at Pamela’s got me extra crispy bacon today. Because I’m a big deal.“). Sometimes it would be a text from her (“A man gave up his seat on the bus for me today. #bigdeal“). It was both self-deprecating and self-important; a way of assuaging our egos while also acknowledging that the big deals we’d cite weren’t really big deals at all.

That said, I do like to think of myself as a big deal. As I repeated to myself in the mirror this morning, I’m the shit and shit.

But then, I saw the stills from a major motion picture. A biopic with millions of dollars invested and dozens of jobs created that thousands (and maybe millions) of people will pay to see. That’s being made about two very important people. But not a full biopic about their entire lives. Or even a Selma-esque look at a very important series of events that happened in a very short period of time. But a movie about a…date. And then I thought about how big of a deal you have to be for a mundane first date with your future spouse to be historically relevant enough to produce an entire movie about it. And then I thought about how comparing that (uppercase) BIG DEAL to my (lowercase) big deal is like comparing a tsunami to a puddle of tears. From a gnat. A puddle of gnat tears. And then I made my own puddle of tears.

2. Do the Right Thing — the movie Barack and Michelle saw on this date — is either one of the best or one of the worst first date movies of all time. I can’t figure out which. It could be one of the best because, well, if you’re a pro-Black person intent on marrying a pro-Black person, taking a date to see that movie that summer would have been the single best vet possible. I can’t imagine anything weeding out pro-Black poseurs better than their reaction to your post-movie vent about Radio Raheem.

But, it could be one of the worst because I can’t imagine transitioning from “Fight the Power!” and “Fuck the Police!” to “So…you wanna come back to my place tonight and Fight the Power…between the sheets?

3. Tika Sumpter looks like someone decided to sculpt a human out of a six foot block of Willy Wonka chocolate. She is a real-life performance art installation; people should pay money to enter galleries to drink wine and Stella Artois and view pictures of Tika Sumpter doing things like “sitting at brunch” and “standing on her porch while deciding whether to order an Uber or just walk because it’s nice out today.”

4. It’s interesting how each of the stills feature Michelle gazing at Barack while Barack looks off to the distance. This gives the impression that she’s completely transfixed by him, and that whatever he’s saying is so profound — and so swoon-worthy — that he can’t even make eye contact with an actual human while saying it.

obama date 2

Her look, btw, is also the look every guy reading this (myself included) hopes his date/girl/wife has when attempting to convince her he could have been a rapper.

5. Jay Pharoah probably does the best Obama impression, but my favorite is Jordan Peele’s. Neither of these men, however, look anything like him. Parker Sawyers does. At least he does in these stills. And this aesthetic similarity should him help disappear into this role. And should also help us forget that his name sounds like a blue blood brunch spot in Annapolis, Maryland.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • miss t-lee

    Tika is so gorgeous! Interested to see her rendition of Shelly O.
    But seriously though, I’m not seeing Barack in that dude, unless he’s a helluva actor.

  • Deeds

    It just seems too soon for any type of movie made about them. Hollywood is running out of ideas.

  • panamajackson

    How f*cking epic was this date? Did I miss that memo of this being the best date ever? Or is Black love on such a decline that a movie about a date between Barack and Michelle is that important. I need more. Because there has to be more than this.

    Agreed on Tika Sumpter. Because lawd jeefus thats a gorgeous woman.

    • Kodoku

      I agree lol I mean, I hope there is more substance to it because if I think about my dates, there isn’t much movie-worth material in them. lol

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      She is pretty. I’ll agree. But a movie about a date…that’s pushing it. Black love doesn’t need to be that desperate.

    • AlwaysCC

      i’ve heard them talk about that first date alot. apparently michelle could see the street through a hole in his door/floorboard (?) or something. they laugh about it and he says he doesn’t know how he got her. #cutecoupleftw

    • Brass Tacks

      She is a nice cup of cocoa. I would be willing to tackle her in front of a feminist convention and just deal with the consequences because well… Sumpter… ijs

    • shayna61

      Apparently pretty epic.

      • Tristan

        Barack still so proud

        • miss t-lee

          He really is, this is too cute.

    • Geoffrey

      Yeah…I take issue with the Tika Sumpter casting. Her refined looks are quite the contrast to Michelle’s — shall we say — more rugged appearance.

      • MzzPeaches
        • Geoffrey

          Oh come on. I thought I was stating the obvious…

          • MzzPeaches

            Um, no. Rugged is the last thing I’d ever use to describe Michelle Obama.

            • Epsilonicus

              I had the same reaction

      • Yousealiar

        It’s comments like this that make me wish that downvotes could still be seen.

        • Geoffrey

          I hate to break it to you guys, but dudes out here aren’t checkin for Michelle Obama lookalikes. She’s not making anyone’s Top 10 Baddest in the Game list. In fact, she’s actually the very antithesis of mainstream black beauty. I can only imagine how she looked prior to the money and fame. (Yikes!)

          • Sigma_Since 93

            “she’s the very antithesis of mainstream black beauty.”

            Who’s mainstream are you using here?? White Folks or Black Folks???

            • Geoffrey

              Either one. Sadly, she’s neither race’s version of mainstream black beauty

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Can’t ride with you on that one. I like my athletic women but I also like my classy women,, Jessica (Gina Torres) from Suits, Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama

                • tgtaggie

                  Meghan Markle can have my kids. I bet she sh*ts glitter. That’s how fine she is

                  • Geoffrey

                    Looks-wise, both her and Gina Torres are in another league from Michelle O. We’re talking light-years ahead

                    • DebraKayeII

                      Or are we just talking “light”?

                • I’ll be honest, I don’t like these kind of conversations…it circulates around one of those aspects unique to black American culture that I’m uncomfortable with (The politics of beauty). I know an old Nigerian guy, whose wife wasn’t really attractive, and in conversation with him, he admitted without anyone asking that his wife was the least attractive person he had the opportunity to marry; but he married her because he felt she had a sense of loyalty and ambition that the other women in his life lacked…a couple years later, having a kid with a terminal illness and autism, he was glad that God helped him make the right decision.

                  It’s all based on an opinion that your relationship or your love life isn’t personal, but a revolutionary or political statement (which kind of increases the chances that if a breakup doesn’t occur, the bitterness will be stronger, the more exposed it is). So, yeah, I just don’t get it. Being black in America is stressful as is, to make relationships equally as stressful, seems to me, to be somewhat sadistic.

              • Vanity in Peril

                The self hate is strong w this ‘boo. Yeesh.

                • Wooooo, chile!

                • Geoffrey

                  Self-hate? In case you haven’t noticed, Tika Sumpter is black

          • Yousealiar

            Ha! Bye Geoffrey.

          • January Jones

            I hate to break it to you, but you’re lost somewhere between 1980 and 1990. What it means to be the baddest chick extends beyond that decade. Lightskin, globs of make-up, weird haircuts, big booty judy. Bad has become the phenomenal woman. Don’t talk about bad unless you’re able to recognize.

            • Geoffrey

              Dont trip. If you scroll down this thread you’ll find evidence that I’m completely unqualified to assess or evaluate beauty

              • Sigma_Since 93

                My momma thinks I’m handsome but that doesn’t mean she’s qualified to assess handsomeness.

                • Geoffrey

                  If a person’s appearance do/don’t make them qualified to assess beauty, why did Tristan post my picture in the thread below?

      • miss t-lee
        • Geoffrey

          You’re in denial my dear. I’ll pray for you.

          • miss t-lee

            Pray for yourself.
            I’m good.

            • Geoffrey

              No its cool I got you. I like to pray for all of God’s creatures — rugged or otherwise.

              • miss t-lee

                Do us all a favor.
                Take your keyboard or your phone and hit yourself in the face with it until you render yourself unconscious.

      • January Jones

        Where are you getting rugged from? She doesn’t fit the White House mold? Even more why she’s a thing of beauty.

      • Reemo

        You could’ve worded that better my friend. I too think FLOTUS has her funny looking days. She also has those days that make me want to tell Barack to watch his girl cause one of us goin take her.

      • Siante

        Michelle is such a beautiful woman inside & out & actually one of THE most beautiful 1st ladies EVER.but even if she wasn’t what good does it do u as a black man to criticize our first (black) lady? She deserves more respect than that. Maybe if her features were a lil’ less unapologetically black you would consider them less “rugged” because you are clearly brainwashed.

        • Geoffrey

          My criticism isn’t with Michelle O. or the DNA that caused her to look the way she does. My criticism falls squarely at the feet of the casting directors for doing a Wendy Williams-level job of casting someone to play our 1st lady.

          Stop trying to make my comment an indictment of Michelle O’s professional accomplishments. Yes, she’s very smart and gifted. We get it

          • Siante

            I didn’t make your criticism an indictment of her accomplishments and you know that lol. It was a good try though & your criticism was not of the casting director either. You were clearly stating Michelle Obama is too “rugged” to have somebody as pretty as Tika Sumpter (with her “refined” aka “mainstream” aka “more white” features) play her in the movie. Your thought process is the result of brainwashing & I honestly don’t expect you to see the disrespect in calling our first (black) lady “rugged” if you’re not even self aware enough to recognize the self hatred in your comment(s).

            • Geoffrey

              Wait…so is Tika Sumpter somehow less black than Michelle O. because she has features you consider “more white”? What does that even mean?

              Further, this concept of brainwashing you bring up is interesting. When one innocuous comment about the 1st lady can throw certain people on VSB into a fiery rage, that’s probably closer to brainwashing then anything I’ve said.

              Or when this same less-than-fawning comment re: Her Highness leads to people posting pictures of the commenter in a futile attempt at public shaming, cyber-bullying, calling their wife disgusting names, and hateful vitriol (all of which can be found in the thread below), I’m sad to say those shameful behaviors are more indicative of brainwashing than anything I’ve said.

              But, you know…whatever you say is cool, boo

              • Siante

                Tika Sumpter is not less “black” than Michelle Obama & once again, you know this lol. You are clearly struggling, so I will break it down for you.

                Coming to a blog that celebrates “blackness” & referring to the first black woman in history to hold the title of “First Lady” with a tough, masculine term such as “rugged” was not innocuous. Your comment was meant to incite.

                African American women for centuries now have been incorrectly portrayed as less beautiful, not as “refined” and more masculine & tough than white women, so to refer to a classy, feminine, beautiful black woman as “rugged” shows that you are a product of white supremacist brain washing because no black man with a full understanding of African American history & all that white America has done to try and tear us down would EVER refer to ANY black woman (especially our first lady) in that manner.

                As far as other commenters, I can not speak to their actions because I’ve been too swamped at work to look downthread. I only have time to reply to whatever’s in my disqus inbox, so *shrugs* if you’re crying about what they’ve done or said to you, you’ll have to address that with them.

                and lastly, I am a young woman who has chosen to engage you in a discussion. I am not your “boo” and feel that the use of a pet name is a very derogatory way for you to refer to me when you would not do the same if you were engaged in a discussion with a man. #beblessed

                • Geoffrey

                  >>African American women for centuries now have been incorrectly portrayed as less beautiful, not as “refined” and more masculine & tough than white women, so to refer to a classy, feminine, beautiful black woman as “rugged” shows that you are a product of white supremacist brain washing

                  I’m comparing one African-American woman to another African-American woman. If ever there was a time when race was irrelevant, this is it. You can’t even say I’m comparing one light-skinned woman to a dark-skinned woman. They’re both dark. Your premise based on Sumpter’s “white features” is laughable. Your argument holds no weight.

                  >>As far as other commenters, I can not speak to their actions because I’ve been too swamped at work to look downthread.

                  Ahhh the old “willful ignorance” card. You spent 30 minutes+ on your reply to me but couldn’t take 3 seconds to peek “downthread” at the aftermath of my original comment? Color me skeptical.

                  It’s clear you’re not going to condemn your fellow posters for their attacks. How courageous of you…

                  • Siante

                    My issue is not with your comparison of one African American woman to another African American woman & once again: YOU KNOW THIS! lol. But that was an excellent attempt at deflection. I will reiterate: your comments in stating that Tika Sumpter’s features are too “refined” to play somebody who has features that are more “rugged” like Michelle Obama stems from white supremacist brainwashing. I have already explained my points clearly upthread for you to read & re-read until you “get it.” The pathology behind your terminology is DEEPLY entrenched in self hatred and you know my argument holds plenty of weight because even you said downthread that your own wife said the use of the term “rugged” was taking it too far. You should probably listen to your wife and what’s behind her comment because (especially) if she is an African American woman there is a lot of wisdom, understanding & maybe even some pain behind it.

                    Also……It’s very self important for you to assume I spent 30 mins+ on a reply to you. I peeked downthread after I finally got off of work but what an arrogant assumption smh. When I finally did look downthread I realized that certain comments were already being condemned by other Vsb’ers here, so your comments insinuating that I am a liar & that I lack courage were once again excellent attempts at deflection.

                    Attempts to gain sympathy & discredit the opposition are often desperate strategies used when somebody has already lost. I will help: you have lost this one lol

                  • Siante

                    You should really stop yourself from replying to me at this point because I’m starting to feel like a lion play fighting with a cat: the sh*t’s too easy lol. I’m bored & ready to move on *files nails*

                • Deborah L. Day

                  If this doesn’t enlighten him…….oh well.

            • Deborah L. Day

              Standing ovation to you for this response! Brainwashed for sure!

    • Royale W. Cheese

      Lol. I read that last sentence at first as “that’s a generous woman”…i.e., giving you everything you need.

  • PunchDrunkLove

    I’m probably the only person here that watches HAHN. I LOVE Tika Sumter being on the show. She brings bad and dirty to an otherwise humdrum soap opera….lol No in all seriousness, I like her and I like the different roles she’s played. I hope she continues to be a star on the rise. Plus she’s a dark beauty :)

    Oh, and re TP, I watch because I want to see black folks do well. I will say the show has gotten much better since the first season.

  • Question

    Why are they making this movie??

  • Question

    A Black biopic? Without Chadwick Boseman??

    • panamajackson

      This made me laugh.

    • Tristan

      Chadwick is already in the black cinematic universe as James Brown

      • Jasmin

        whooo and Jackie Robinson

      • Question

        Chadwick disagrees.

    • Vanity in Peril

      I want Chadwick B to play me and my momma in the story of my life. For realz

  • DBoySlim

    I think the first date was important because of what it represents. Keep it simple and don’t sleep on potential.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    This better be like sponsored by Tony Romas or something given how not necessary it is. We can’t be so desperate about Black love that people really want this to happen…right?

    • Bring Tony Roma’s back! Their spot on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park was popping!

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Dude, just come down to Brooklyn, we got one by the Barclay Center

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    What if the their first date was the VHS of Howard The Duck, Colt 45, and KFC….would we have still gotten the movie then? And Michelle doesn’t have any Soul Glo in her hair, I call shenanigans.

  • cogito

    I’m a little worried that they went full Black for Barack but I would have been outraged if they would have put toner on a White dude so I guess I’ll count the blessing.

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