By Tyra Johnson, Creative Content Director
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, MARCO brought an advanced screening of Queen & Slim. With lead actors Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, the film cascades through the journey of a black duo on the run after an interaction with a police officer goes awry.
Written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, the story is a sociopolitical critique on police brutality, black unity, protest ideologies and unconditional love. Waithe and Matsoukas took on the challenge of adding a new narrative to trending conversation of black lives in a police state.
“It’s about two people falling in love as the world is burning around us,” said Matsoukas.
Standout quotes from the movie include, “Why black people always got to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?” and “It should be a sin to call a black woman crazy.”
After the screening, Matsoukas engaged the audience in a question and answer session.
The film was composed by Blood Orange, using music to soundtrack the six-day journey of our characters. Many of the songs were film exclusives, including an unreleased bounce track by Megan thee Stallion.
“I wanted the music itself to be a character,” said Matsoukas. She also explained how the music selection reflectied the settings of the movie.
The black music was highlighted by specific cultural references and representations, allowing black audiences to resonate with the film in more intimate.
“I don’t know if it’s [the flim] for everyone to understand. Hopefully it creates a dialogue and provides something to think about,” Matsoukas said.
Throughout her career, Matsoukas has kept blackness at the forefront of her work, like in Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Issa Rae’s Insecure. This fact is only exemplified by her decision to show an advanced screening of her first film at an HBCU.
The director mentioned that this was also her first time watchinf the film, and expressed gratitude to the honesty of an all black crowd.
The film received a standing ovation from the Howard audience. Queen & Slim will be in theaters on Nov. 27.