'Oppressors, Not Protectors': The Cast of Queen & Slim Reflect on Policing

As Solange once crooned, “this shit is for us.”

At the time of this article’s posting, I’ve seen Queen & Slim three times and I have no doubt this film was primarily created for us. Still, like any movie, you want as many eyes on it as possible, so I had to give writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas the space to speak their voice on any expected backlash from the “Blue Lives Matter” brigade, given the film’s content—because I just know they’re going to be big mad. Oh well.


“If someone were to say, ‘How irresponsible to show black people [or] anybody killing cops, it’s like, but black people have to watch the news every day. We are bombarded with images of us being killed,” Lena mused.

Queen & Slim’s IMDb page breaks down the film as “a couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.”


Unfortunately, many black people share a burdened bond relating to being pulled over by the cops. Whether you’ve experienced the panic attack that comes during a routine police stop, have been racially profiled or someone in your circle of family or friends has been brutalized or killed by a police officer, there is some experience in a black person’s life that complicates the relationship between the men and women sworn to protect and serve us.

Check out the video above as Lena, Melina and the film’s stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya open up about their own personal run-ins with the police and how that shaped their respective storytelling and portrayal in the film.

Queen & Slim runs into theaters Nov. 27.


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