BET Awards: ‘Being Pulled Over By Police Like Playing Russian Roulette’

NewsBusters | 6/24/2019 | Staff
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The 2019 BET Awards were held on Sunday night, hosted by actress Regina Hall. Although Hall made a big deal hailing from D.C., the awards were mostly non-politically, with a few exceptions.

One marginal example came when "The Central Park Five," redubbed "The Exonerated Five" after renewed attention brought by the Netflix Series When They See Us, got a standing ovation as they introduced a performance by H.E.R. of her politically-tinged song "Lord Is Coming."

Moment - Presentation - Trailer - Universal - Film

But a bigger moment came with the presentation of a trailer for the upcoming Universal film about a police shooting. Introducing the first look at Queen & Slim were screenwriter Lena Waithe (Master of None, Ready Player One), first-time director Melina Matsoukas (a music video director for stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé) and actress Jodie Turner-Smith. Waithe said she wanted the film to "reflect the times," which apparently means "a world where being pulled over by the police is like playing Russian roulette."

Lena Waithe: Nina Simone once said, ‘It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times.’ I couldn’t agree more. When it came time to write my first feature, I wanted to explore a world where being pulled over by the police is like playing Russian roulette and your only weapon against injustice is your ability to never let go of who you are. I knew I needed other rebellious artists to help me tell this story and I couldn’t think of a more fitting one than the visionary director Melina Matsoukas.

Melina - Matsoukas - Film - Life - Story

Melina Matsoukas: Bringing this film to life was challenging, it was a story I knew was necessary to tell. It’s a story of resistance, a story in which we are never victims and most importantly, a story about the strength of black love. We set out to create a film...
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