Let the brothers go!”. (Only Mark Romanek, at three, has more.)

They’ve challenged me to be a better artist. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.’ It is an artist’s duty. “The black body is more celebrated in death than in life. “It’s when you get to paint. The year Fort Apache was released, the only major film starring black actors was Bustin’ Loose with Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson. With its scenes from the ’hood, long tight braids, and bodacious choreography, the work punches back at the problematic contention that global celebrities like Michael Jordan, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson “transcend” race. It was released on November 27, 2019, by Universal Pictures.

At home, she watched the films of Mira Nair, The Color Purple, All About My Mother, The Royal Tenenbaums, West Side Story, Belly, and her absolute favorite, Julie Dash’s 1991 Daughters of the Dust, an impressionistic movie about three generations of Gullah women on South Carolina’s St. Helena Island. “Every frame is a still life.” (See, for example, a shot of her actors sitting in a diner booth, which plays like a beautifully Afrocentric take on a Hopper painting, or a scene in which characters stand silhouetted against a burning car at dawn.). “When that stops happening, then I’ll stop making work like this.”, Matsoukas often speaks in equations, and it’s hard for her to talk about her work without calculating how it impacts the world. If they felt like it, they could kiss. “Everyone was looking at me like, You don’t have the experience to be doing this. “Are you good with this?” someone else asks Matsoukas. Fort Apache depicts not even a whisper of this energy. “Yep,” says Matsoukas, “looks good.”. There’s the stuttering and also a ghostly red flare that blinks just left of center screen.

John Hughes directed his first film, Sixteen Candles, with Universal, seven years after Robert Zemeckis made his first, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, with the studio. “Uncle Earl,” says Matsoukas, “is who Joshua in Jason’s Lyric would have become.”. Matsoukas’s ability to not overlight or underlight brown skin tones (a longstanding problem in the film biz) did not go unnoticed. It’s a lush, vibrant vision that plays off an aesthetic she’s honed in her shorter work; she even alludes to one of “Formation’s” most powerful images, a young boy facing down a phalanx of cops. [9], American music video, film, commercial and television director, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (. Were it not for Taye Diggs chasing down Angela Bassett at the end of 1998’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back, you could be forgiven for thinking that a black person in love had never run after anyone at an airport. Her graduate thesis was on music videos.[5]. She knew she was ready for a feature. She made black people look like themselves.

“My grandfather was a black cowboy,” Matsoukas says. Want to be. With an extended family that included activists, Cuban maids, Upper West Side Jews, and a preacher grandfather who rode around Harlem on a white horse, her childhood home was “a wondrous collision of culture,” says Matsoukas. “He had a rodeo in the Bronx to get kids off the street.”, At Hackensack High School in New Jersey, where her family later moved, Matsoukas was into photography and hip-hop. Get lost in it, she told them. I’d call Lena, like, ‘Is this true?’ She’d say, ‘Doesn’t matter. [3][4] Both her name and surname are Greek: Μελίνα Ματσούκα. “This movie is saying something really strong, and it’s on the right side of history,” Matsoukas later tells me. It’s historic. The audience is not meant to be even slightly distracted from the white car with the TRUSTGOD plates, putt-putting across the screen.

Her parents were about communism and equality and activism, and Matsoukas was a sponge. They are Communist believers, so they don’t believe in organized religion, but we believe very much in culture and in food — Greek food, Cuban food, soul food, Jamaican food, all on one plate.”, Left to right: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya and Matsoukas on the set of ‘Queen & Slim.’, She entered NYU as a math major, but graduated with a thesis project on music videos — a change of lanes more parallel than perpendicular. It’s not some little plot-bound genre formula. How do we change that? So I stayed there and wasn’t in a rush.” (Fourteen years later, Matsoukas would be honored with AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, the first black woman to receive the award.). When accepting the award, Rihanna thanked her fans, her glam squad, and “Meliiiiiiinaaa! “Thanksgiving” was named by TV Guide as one of the best episodes of the 21st century. The piece tells a two-sided, victimless story of a druggy, toxic relationship and was released two years after Rihanna’s ex-boyfriend Chris Brown was convicted of assaulting the pop star. “We’re beginning to redefine our community — and hopefully our version of Hollywood.”, Her father, a half-Greek, half-Jewish woodworker, and mother, an Afro-Cuban, Jamaican professor, met through a socialist student group in New York City, and raised their daughter in the Bronx before moving to New Jersey. “But it was a gateway for me to move to Los Angeles without running around like a chicken with my head cut off.” She quickly learned that music videos were a place where outsider directors could experiment and have some control. From Raiders of the Lost Ark to Stripes to Body Heat, Arthur, and Taps, there was virtually no way for people of color to see themselves represented on the big screen. “A coming-out story” is what Matsoukas recalls Waithe saying. Want more Rolling Stone? “We’re so few and far between in this industry,” says Matsoukas. He answers clearly: “No.”.

They did on the first take. “It’s wild to say, but me and Melina, our relationship is very Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson,” she says. “That’s always what I want — work that creates a dialogue, that creates change, that’s going to make people think, whether they agree with it or not.”, In the studio, Matsoukas lets the pause stretch until one of the guys says, “Yeah, someone is gonna check it in the cut.”. I knew I’d grow into film, TV, and other mediums, but I wanted to start in video.

“Somebody’s always been chasing us.”, Matsoukas is about the entire spectrum of color.

Young Matsoukas lived in the Bronx’s 4,000-apartment Co-op City, a middle-income housing development, with her mother, an Afro-Cuban and Jamaican math teacher, and her father, a Greek and Jewish construction worker (her grandmother lives in the complex to this day). Like your greenest blue, pale,” she says. “The queen of Black women filmmakers [is] Dash,” Matsoukas told the website Shadow and Act in August.

You’ve read the 0 free articles available to you. Being in charge of color, in any medium, is an act as radical as it is creative. Queen & Slim is fueled by a similar question: Can we honor black lives while they’re alive? She is a two-time Grammy Award winner and four-time MTV Video Music Awards winner for her "We Found Love" and "Formation" music videos.

She was influenced by it, and she knew I could handle television.” A new girls club was making moves alongside the old boys. “If you look at my work as a throughline, I obviously love to celebrate black culture and black people,” she muses. Blood coloring has been added to one character’s ear and to another’s leg. In all this erasure of people of color, Waithe says, “we lose a lot of our humanity.

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