A Series of Big, Beautiful & Black Girl Think Pieces on “Queen & Slim”
Part 1: The Opening Date Scene
Let me go ahead and warn those who haven’t seen this black, excellent ass film that this blog is the first of several that will have hella spoilers. You’ve been warned. But on the other hand, wtf haven’t you seen it…its been over a month now…uglass!
Yesterday officially marked one month since I’ve seen Queen & Slim. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say it took me 4 whole weeks to process this film. I literally have SO MANY DAMN THOUGHTS AND FEELS, but I will contain myself and roll out a series of think pieces dissecting my favorite elements of the film. Queen & Slim created a whole new meaning to the adage “art imitates life”. I was captivated from beginning to end — which is why I would be remiss not to start from the top with the diner date scene.
The opening scene of the film reminded me of the dynamic of male and female slave relationships during American slavery-- it is so incredibly nuanced. During the transatlantic slave trade, black men and women struggled TOGETHER fighting for our lives and to prove our humanity in the most inhumane of circumstances. The brutal labor of working in cotton fields and tobacco plantations…our ancestors did this grueling work side-by-side. Throughout the generations of Africans born in America, there has been this peculiar, yet beautiful kinship that black men and women share — our love is grounded in trauma and exhaustion of white supremacy. Let’s be clear…love is love and comes in all forms; however, there is no debate that the union between a black man and a black woman is a force to be reckoned with…PERIODT! American History has shown us that the most valuable union between black men and black women is through bondage. Queen & Slim was a perfect display of the intersections and complexities that is black love. Black love should always be analyzed and observed through an intersectional lens.
A black revolution is not revolutionary if it’s not intersectional.--LaTricea Adams
In the diner scene, we see a generalization of a stern, ball-bustin’ black female lead character (Queen) and what initially appears to be a traditionalist black male (Slim). Sis was cold af at this modest first date. There was hella classism & elitism so thick you couldn’t even cut that bitch with a knife. At one point during the opening scene, Queen scoffed, “Do you really like this place, or is that what you can afford?” Whew chillay…THE SHADE! Let’s unpack this, shall we?
Queen was really toxic as hell during this first date. Unfortunately, society values men based on their financial status. I have seen firsthand how devastating it is particularly for men when they aren’t where they want to be financially. Throw the whole emasculating ass comment away! That shit was triggering af! As a 5 generation Southerner, my great-grandfather and grandfather had to move farther north to secure a decent job due to trash ass Jim Crow. Many of the jobs especially in the South historically and currently aren’t good paying jobs (uh huh…while some of y'all undercover Trump supporting, pull-yourself-up from your bootstraps black folk are silent af about a liveable wage…MESSAGE!) . All of that to say, sis had my brotha effed up with that lil’ funky ass statement. Furthermore, I’m gonna go ahead and infer that Queen was aware of the location for the date before time. You could have just said “nah” and kept it moving with ya' lonely, swipe right lookin’ ass (no judgement because I got a whole Tinder date tonight…deadass). It was also incredibly presumptuous. How often do we mistake a desire for simplicity in life with a state of poverty. On a real self-reflective tip, as an activist, I have to check myself on this shit often! There are lot of assumptions when you work in puic service or helping others. Queen was an attorney, and while she had a few woke statements regarding our racist ass criminal justice system, her perception of her clients AND Slim was definitely shrouded in classism. Some people don’t have aspirations of grandeur or doing the damn most. There is beauty in simplicity…beauty indeed is in the eye of the beholder.
A first date is the ultimate icebreaker. A diner actually provides the perfect atmosphere to engage in meaningful discourse. It creates the perfect blend of intimacy while still public enough in case somebody is with the shit and you need to dip out real quick. That’s not to say you can’t like nice things, but we have to apply empathy and understanding when dating and try really hard to remove any preconceived notions (preaches to myself!). Queen needed to take several seats for this portion of the date.
Let’s talk about Queen’s assessment of loneliness. Now this was triggering because I indeed felt ALL of that.
I hope you didn’t think I was gon’ keep reading my sis for filth the whole time. Just so you know, we defend black womanhood over here all day everyday, which includes holding each other accountable. PERIOD!
I’m wondering if Queen was an Aries, because despite her cold, external demeanor, some deep rooted emotion was clearly brewing underneath the surface. Queen admitted to what a lot of professional black women do…pour into their work to escape the feeling of loneliness. And you know what, I don’t even think “loneliness" truly defines this particular conundrum. I think the best description of what Queen had been feeling was a lack of intimacy--not just sexually, but emotionally and spiritually. Even though sis was running me low during this raggedy ass date, I was still so captivated because I was rooting for her…I was rooting for them…rooting for US (“us" meaning black people — sorry, not sorry allies).
The beatings from slavery to the current New Jim Crow often forces black people to question love because of the bloody history of our battles with struggle love.
There is much to be desired in the freedom to love and this particular scene displayed how caged our hearts are…black love in shackles. How many times do we turn our music up listening to lyrics that celebrate lacking feelings. We call the shit a bop all the while we are spiritually bankrupt, yearning for intimacy beyond a penis and a vagina (however you want to pair them up…we are inclusive af over here…BLOOP!). This scene pushed my thinking--"How does love feel with no inhibition…no limits…no boundaries?” The hell if I know, but this lil date scene had my eyes and ears wide open. **cues Selena** “I could fall…in lovvvvveee with you…[lookin ass].
There is SO much more I want to unpack. Leave comments, give some claps, share…support a Big, Black & Beautiful BBW, mane. Make sure you follow “The BBW Slay” to stay up-to-date with the latest blog posts.