‘Queen & Slim’ Creators Melina Matsoukas & Lena Waithe Talk Making Art That Creates Change

“We’ll give you an authentic view of what it means to be Black in America today.”

(AllHipHop News) Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe are two of the producers behind the forthcoming motion picture Queen & Slim. Matsoukas also made her feature-film directorial debut, and Waithe wrote the screenplay.

In the movie, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) are on the run after a police officer is killed in self-defense during a traffic stop. As two Black fugitives, the retail worker and the lawyer unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief, and pain for people across the country.

Queen & Slim explores racism, classism, policing, the media, and other relevant cultural topics in modern-day America. Melina and Lena discussed the Universal Pictures production in a pre-release featurette.

“Filmmaking is a war, and those are my war wounds up on that screen. I feel like you have to fight for your vision,” expresses Matsoukas. “That’s my favorite kind of art to create, that speaks to people and also creates change.”

Matsoukas is a two-time Grammy winner for directing Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Beyoncé’s “Formation” music videos. Lena Waithe won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Netflix’s Master of None), and she is the creator of the Showtime program The Chi. Best-selling author James Frey and Waithe developed the story for Queen & Slim. 

“You’re trying to find it through the visuals, I’m trying to find it through the words, and the actors are trying to find it in their performances,” says Waithe while speaking with Matsoukas. 

The Chicago native continued, “All these Black artists are trying to find truth in something or some form of honesty. Whoever’s watching it, whether you like it or not, it’s going to make you feel something.”

In addition to Kaluuya and Turner-Smith, the Queen & Slim cast also includes Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Indya Moore, and Sturgill Simpson. Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange) scored the drama.

The Queen & Slim soundtrack consists of contributions from Blood Orange, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion, Bilal, Raphael Saadiq, Vince Staples, EarthGang, Syd, Lil Baby, Burna Boy, and more. The album is due out on November 15. Queen & Slim will arrive in North American theaters on November 27.