Queen & Slim is heading to theaters on November 27th as one of the most anticipated movies of the year. It’s more than the black version of Bonnie and Clyde, it’s deep dive into the complexities of Black love, racial injustice and what people will do to be free. On this episode of Extra Butter with Xilla Valentine, I sit down with Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Smith-Turner, Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas for interviews about Queen and Slim.
Queen And Slim starts off on the first date between a female lawyer who was having a bad day, and a man who reached out to her on tinder. The date went so so but took an unexpected turn when a policeman pulls them over for a minor traffic violation as he was driving her home. During the traffic stop the situation escalates, Slim takes the officer’s gun and shoots him to protect his woman. Knowing they will be labeled as cop killers, Slim and Queen feel that they have no choice but to go on the run and evade the law. While on the run they realize a video of the incident goes viral, and the outlaws are heroes to some, and not to others while becoming symbols of trauma, terror, grief, and pain for people all across the country.
The movie has been a long time in the making and Lena told us she is always excited seeing her work come to life on the big screen. “It’s always amazing. The day that I’m not phased by it, I gotta get out. It’s an out of body experience, I think that’s the thing. Writing is very solitary, I was in the room by myself for damn near a year. It took eight months for me to write the first couple of drafts.” She goes on to say she did most of the heavy lifting of the writing with just a map, a dry erase board and a picture of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. But once she started sending it out and asking people to kick the tires, she would go back and insert different things into the script. Including a line about Black excellence, she got from Daniel Kaluuya.
While doing research for the film, I stumbled across a quote from Queen and Slim director Melina Matsoukas saying she watched a lot of videos of Black people getting pulled over by the cops, but it was Sandra Bland’s video that she watched over and over again. Saying that when Sandra tried to stand up for herself, the cop was “was blinded by her blackness and couldn’t stand for that.” Black people in America people become blinded by the color of our skin often, so I asked the cast to describe a time that someone was blinded by their blackness. They all share stories you’re going to want to hear. Press Play.