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The cast of Southside With You flooded the Chicago north side’s Music Box Theater on Thursday, August 18 for a special screening.

The romantic film, set on a hot sunny day in a 1989 Chicago, follows President Barack Obama and a then reluctant Ivy-League attorney Michelle Robinson‘s first date. She was the only black woman at her firm who was reluctant to give him a chance. She did not want her superiors to judge the firm’s two African-American colleagues for fraternizing.

His all-out attempt to win her affection includes a visit to an art exhibit, a rousing community meeting he leads at a South Side church and a screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Although the pair have no inkling they will someday make history together, the fact that the date marks the first spark of romance between the future first couple makes this sweet and inspiring love story all the more poignant, according to the film’s press release.


Tika Sumpter (Get On Up, Ride Along) fills the big shoes of the First Lady, as Parker Sawyers (Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) plays a young Obama, with his signature walk and tone down to a T. Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America, Saints and Sinners) plays Michelle’s mom, Marian Shields Robinson.

John Legend is executive producer of the film, alongside writer and director Richard Tanne (You Never Left) and Robert Teitel (Soul Food, Barbershop). Legend also penned the film’s original song, “Start.”

Southside With You opens in theaters nationwide on August 26.

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Photo credit: Juan Anthony Images