Queen and Slim, written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, the visionary behind Beyoncè’s Formation video, received acclaim upon its release last month – and many in the industry expected it to be honored in the run-up to the Oscars, particularly with a nomination for the Golden Globes. But when noms were announced last week, the drama was nowhere to be seen. Why was Queen and Slim snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association? Acclaimed filmmaker Melina has a theory.
“We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended,” the Afro Latina director told Variety. “For me, it’s reflective of their voting body. It’s not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today. They don’t value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers.”
Queen and Slim follows the path of an innocent first date that leads to Queen (played by newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (played by Daniel Kaluuya) having to go on the run after killing a police officer in self-defense.
In November, Melina told HOLA! USA that she believes the poignant film can help usher in a new era of inclusivity that not only affects those in film, but those in all other sectors of life. Something that she feels her debut film, Queen & Slim, can help do.
“I feel like with film it's so powerful. I really believe in the power of cinema and using that as a weapon for social change. And that's what I feel like we've done with Queen & Slim,” shares the music video director.
Melina has a clear vision for the future — something that can be easily seen in Beyoncé’s music videos for Lemonade, Formation and Pretty Hurts, which she directed.
Melina feels that minorities within the film industry have been disrespected for far too long. “I think we're standing on the shoulders of so many filmmakers of color who have been discredited, who have not been appreciated and completely disrespected,” the Insecure director shared.
She continued, “There is no me without a Julie Dash, without a Hype Williams, and without a Spike Lee. These people have created this space for us.”
“I think that we're amplifying the legacy in which they've built and now we're hopefully supporting each other so that it can't be broken down or our talents denied or our voices denied, and we're creating more opportunities for each other,” she stated.
Melina, who grew up in the Bronx and New Jersey, launched her own production company, De La Revolución Films, named in honor of her roots. “I come from a very multicultural family,” she told us. “My father is Greek and Jewish, and my mother is black Cuban and Jamaican. I was brought up with a real strong appreciation for culture and for people.”