Queen & Slim - Speaker Series with Melina Matsoukas
This past weekend I was extremely lucky to be able to grab a seat at a private talk and Q&A with the director of Queen & Slim, Melina Matsoukas. Hosted by her bestie Melody Ehsani at her namesake shop in LA and perfectly moderated by Flea (also, Melody's husband!). Melina took us on her journey from the very first concepts all the way through to the finished film that's out in theaters now!
As you would expect the room was filled to capacity- every seat and floor space was taken up plus the crowd lining the sidewalk outside on Fairfax. Everyone was trying to hear what this Goddess had to say, and let me tell you there was plenty of gems dropped throughout the night. One of the major takeaways from the night is to believe in yourself, your vision, have conviction and do it with a purpose. Oh- and never accept the first offer you get...why? Well because it's only the first offer! There's more to come and it's better to hold out and have options.
Melina has made it her mission to make POC more visible in main stream media, adding "I love black people, and I love black love!". Crediting Beyoncé herself with giving Melina her first shot at a major video- have you heard of FORMATION!? YES, SHE DID THAT!! Melina directed the video in 1 weeks time right before the Super Bowl!! Queen Bee opened the door for bigger projects to come Melina's way, and Melina knows this is how we succeed. When one makes it, you help the next come through the door. She also doesn't shy away from the fact that women of color just don't get offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts and far less so than their white male counterparts. It's time to break down those barriers and change the way things have been for too long. We all deserve to be seen and had our stories told our way, not through the lens of what someone THINKS the story should be.
We got to see the film right after the talk and left the theater floored. The visuals, music, wardrobe, mood and story are all standalone pieces of art but when they come together, they created a beautiful captivating story. I truly believe this film will gain more popularity over time. It feels like a monumental dedication to an intense time in America we're all currently living in and through. Our country has PTSD and this film offers a judgement free perspective on the times we're living in. The characters aren't always what they seem and they serve as a reminder that sometimes what we think we know, we might actually not know at all.
Here's to more movies being made by not just women, but women of color behind the lens. Bringing more cultures, neighborhoods and characters into front and center stage with authentic character experiences and stories more of us can relate too.