Those simple, yet poignant five words were the culmination of my immediate reaction after watching the film “Queen & Slim."
It be your own people.
The tragic love story of "Queen & Slim", written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, chronicled six days in the life of a young Black man and Black woman, who met over dinner for the first time after connecting on Tinder. The story escalates when a police stop goes awry when Slim, played by British actor Daniel Kaluuya, shoots and kills the officer after Queen, played Jodie Turner-Smith, was shot by the officer without cause. The two had a critical decision to make. Stay and see how the justice system plays out or run. They chose to run.
From here, a number of events transpired over the course of the 2+ hour film, but it all culminated in the couple reaching an airstrip to board a small plane to escape Cuba, which they saw as freedom. They had planned to live in asylum just as the famed civil rights leader Assata Shakur had done decades before. But Queen and Slim never made it.
The two were gunned down by police in a sad end to an exciting journey. Their deaths were thanks in large part to the Black Man, as he's known, played by actor Bertrand Boyd II (pictured above) and known on Twitter as "the most hated man right now."
Black Man had a chance to help Queen & Slim when he discovered them along the side of the road asleep and in need of assistance. Instead, he turned them over to the police and collected the reward of $250,000 each. It was a calming reminder of the age-old phrase that "all skinfolk ain't kinfolk". In other words, just because we all look the same does not mean we have the same values no moral compass. For no other group is this a thing, but for Black America, we have had this sense that we have to look out for one another. Such was not the case for Black Man however, as he was fine with seeing two people die for his own monetary gain. It begs the question, are Black people just collateral damage to America with a dollar sign attached to us in 2019?
The film showed so many examples of dependence. Time and time again Slim and Queen had to depend on others for help, especially other Black people. It got me thinking about how this theme and storyline plays into regular life in both positive and negative ways. For instance, I ride for all Black America and the betterment of our Black and Brown people. Yet, too often we are sometimes our own downfall. I watched the film and was so proud at moments. At other times I was hurt to see us not prevail.
When it comes to Black-owned businesses we need to support of one another, but as owners, we need to make sure we are also taking care of the business. When we make deals with others, we need to be sure to show up and follow through. When we say we can make something happen, we need to make it happen. I enjoyed "Queen & Slim" because for me, it was all about happiness, freedom, love, safety, honor, loyalty, legacy and pride. Ultimately, it was the lack of all these things that became the downfall of Queen and Slim.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.