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"Queen and Slim" creators on being black in America

"What are you most afraid of?" "The police." Brut spoke with @QueenAndSlim screenwriter Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas about being black in America.

Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas

Screenwriter and director of the movie "Queen & Slim,” Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas share what it means to be black in today's United States.

Talking about her nephew

“Oh yeah, my nephew, who is eight years old, he… So, I asked, ‘What are you most afraid of?’ He said the police, and I think to be a young black boy… I shouldn't be surprised by that, actually, because you can't shield him from news or sort of social media. And I think that was really eye-opening for me. I know I'm afraid of them. But it just makes so much sense because the truth is, even when you watch civil rights footage, you know, the people beating up the young college students who are protesting are police officers.”

The pressures of "Black Excellence”

“Of course. You know, I don't think we would be here if we weren't excellent. And I think this is something that just comes with the dinner of being black, because we don't have true equality yet. But I think that that's, you know… Look, I think it's a harsh truth that we both have to face, but I think we both accept the challenge. I was brought up in a way that we're all created equal and we need to fight for each other's rights, not just our own. That we have to use the privilege we've been given to give other people that opportunity. And so, it gave me purpose, you know, it gave me this need to want to create change, to want to dismantle, to want to disrupt, to want to challenge. I just had to figure out what was going to be my weapon of choice. And then I found filmmaking and I was like, ‘This is a way for me to change the world.’ I can reach everybody, I can change minds, I can make people think, I can affect change that hopefully motivates other forms of activism.”

Responsibilities through art as a black woman

“I feel like I have a responsibility to reflect the times, to be honest to how we live. I don't really like to make people comfortable or create a space where people don't need to change. I think that comfort breeds complacency, and I like to motivate people and make them uncomfortable where they're questioning why. And so I feel like, you know, there's a need for me to reflect the times in which we live, to critique the society in which we live. Because it's not created equal, and there's a lot of dismantling and disruption that needs to happen. And I need to be a part of that. My responsibility? To tell the truth, you know, to be a truth teller and to not be afraid and to not make art that allows our community to be passive because, you know, we have to be the revolution that we dream about", Lena Waithe concludes with Malina Melina Matsoukas.

Brut.

02/06/2020 2:30 PM

84 comments

  • Sebrena R.
    03/12/2020 18:51

    We can't defend ourselves, friends or family or we get arrest and charged. Let them tell it everybody resist them. Wish that would have been a question for the political candidates

  • Shanija S.
    03/12/2020 18:48

    Love you Lena😘👏

  • Carol B.
    03/12/2020 17:30

    Hmmmmmmm

  • Fernandez K.
    03/12/2020 14:47

    They don't uphold the constution,which they took an oath on.

  • Sue M.
    03/12/2020 07:32

    This poor kids been brainwashed.

  • Frankly K.
    03/11/2020 21:46

    any honest black man will tell you police is not the problem. its the man in the mirror that we fear when we walk out into the streets.

  • Patty G.
    03/11/2020 15:54

    🙏🙏🙏 Jesus Jesus Lord we need you Desperately

  • Donna B.
    03/11/2020 12:03

    Tell the truth

  • Michelle N.
    03/11/2020 04:50

    So true

  • Mitch L.
    03/10/2020 15:51

    Social programming by the Reptile Overlords. Doing anything they can to increase tensions and spread fear by any means. Ol girl was protecting her little rapist buddy until it became too problematic and now shes preaching to the masses on a topic, she has no authority in.

  • Janice H.
    03/10/2020 00:20

    True!

  • Joyce V.
    03/10/2020 00:12

    Black people need to stop calling each other the N word,

  • Phillip H.
    03/09/2020 11:39

    Targeted murdered or extorted.the criminal justice system is criminal

  • Kevin W.
    03/09/2020 10:53

    Shiiiit!!!

  • Terrence T.
    03/08/2020 13:57

    They were never meant for our protection nor to be in service to us . The police originated from slave catchers and that mentality never left . And how could it since that was the origin of the police force in the first place . So also is there no surprise the amount of Klan members and straight racists on the force in the first place.... Like . Duh .

  • Cos A.
    03/07/2020 11:52

    He should be way more afraid to reach adulthood without a dividend producing portfolio Each One M1

  • Rosalee B.
    03/07/2020 01:37

    Sad but so true

  • Drago H.
    03/07/2020 00:36

    I don't need none of them mfs. I can take care of myself

  • Mrjerry F.
    03/06/2020 16:25

    Like they used to say right on and hopefully will be treated better but yet this still so many officers that should be protecting us to the break the law like one time I was coming from my sister's 5 in the morning because I have to go to work that morning I seen three planes calls cops you can send some of us can be wrong so I quickly rushed into Stewart's came in to say that I threw a small rock at the windows and I quickly replied to them said I work at both of the hospital if I didn't make it to Stuart I believe it would hurt me I wish I would have got their names the course I had to prove right there in Stewart's and it been a couple of times that's why I waved to them almost every morning so maybe I won't be aroused

  • Terencio K.
    03/06/2020 02:55

    What she is saying is true, but unfortunately, since she presenting herself in a "masculine persona", she will be viewed as a Black male when being pulled over by the police and be subjected to those same prejudices.

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