Lena Waithe Explains Police Brutality Focus In ‘Queen & Slim’

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 14: Lena Waithe attends AFI FEST 2019 Presented By Audi â   "Queen & Slim" Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 14, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Lena Waithe Explains Police Brutality Focus In ‘Queen & Slim’

“For me, this is a battle cry.”

Published November 27, 2019

Written by Alexis Reese

With one of the most anticipated Black films of 2019, Queen & Slim, to be released before the start of the new year, producer and writer Lena Waithe is spinning the traditional police brutality narrative.

RELATED: 10 Things We Learned About 'Queen & Slim' From Daniel Kaluuya

Sitting down with BET Digital, Waithe speaks to the importance of the film, her vision behind the screenplay, the current state of America’s police force and more.

  1. The drama follows two strangers, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), who find themselves responsible for the death of a police officer after going on a first date. Waithe transformed a small anecdote she got from her co-writer James Frey into a fully formed narrativethen brought on Melina Matsoukas as director.

    With police brutality at an all-time high, the need for the film was urgent if not crucial. 

    “I think for Black people, police have never represented to us an organization that protects or serves us. We almost feel more oppressed by the police. That is something that is an issue and is a problem in our society, because we are citizens just like anyone else. But we feel policed, you can’t live freely in that way,” Waithe says.

    RELATED: Are Queen & Slim Really The Black Bonnie & Clyde?

    Interactions with the police have come become predictably tragic when Black people are involved and Waithe describes the film as a call to arms: “It’s a way of saying that we are human just as anyone else, and we deserve to live not freely but victoriously.”

    Queen & Slim hits theaters on Wednesday, November 27. 

    Watch the full BET Digital interview below.

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)


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