Thursday, January 28, 2021

Janelle Monáe Says ‘Antebellum’ Explores How Black Women ‘Deconstruct White Systemic Racism’

*Janelle Monáe says her “Antebellum” thriller will certainly “trigger” some people as it weaves themes of white supremacy, slavery and racism throughout the narrative.  

In the film, Janelle plays “successful author Veronica Henley who finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality that forces her to confront the past, present and future – before it’s too late,” according to the official synopsis. 

Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, the time-bending thriller will premiere as a Premium On-Demand release on all platforms on September 18. The film will open theatrically in select international markets, according to a press release.

READ MORE: Janelle Monae’s Mind-bending Mystery ‘Antebellum’ Gets New Release Date and Platform


During a Zoom call with EW in July, the singer/actress said “for me, this film does deal with the burden that black women carry every single day as we try to deconstruct white systemic racism.” 

Monáe went on to explain that “one of the things that [Veronica] advocates for is that we don’t need to try to look white, or to appear like we’re asking to be invited into white patriarchy. We should remain authentic in our blackness. We should dress how we want to dress, f— respectability politics.”

Janelle Monáe in Antebellum
Janelle Monáe in Antebellum [via Twitter]
She continued, “We need to be reminded that when our [African] ancestors were stolen, they didn’t steal Black people who just wanted to be a slave. They didn’t ask to be enslaved,” Monae explained. “They stole teachers, they stole doctors, they stole nurses, they stole geniuses. They had real lives and dreams, and passions and were pillars in their communities.”

Monáe said “Antebellum” is not “a slave movie” nor is it “a white savior movie.”

“Most of the films I’ve watched over the years that deal with this very evil system have predominantly been white savior films. I don’t think that [they hold] white folks accountable in the way that they should. It absolves them.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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