Daniel Kaluuya Queen & Slim Lena Waithe Melina Matsoukas
Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya in Queen & Slim. Photograph by Campbell Addy, courtesy of Universal Pictures

Queen & Slim writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas introduced the film at its worldwide premiere Thursday night at AFI Fest in Hollywood. The following is excerpted from their full remarks, in which they thanked their producers, supporters, crew and cast, including leads Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. They play a young couple whose first date is interrupted by a traffic stop that escalates into a national fight for justice.

Melina Matsoukas

Like the character Slim, I don’t believe in luck. I believe that everything is destiny. And everyone in this room was destined to be here tonight. Thank you for bringing your whole selves to the theater, to this movie, and thank you for sharing this space with us.

Welcome to the premiere of Queen and Slim.

We set out to create a film that would honor our community, that would speak to the world, where we could show our appreciation and our love for the land that our ancestors built with their bare hands. This work is for us and by us. But we want the world to experience Queen & Slim. Because we will never understand each other until we walk in each other’s shoes. So come walk with us. Ride with us. Experience life through our lens.

Also read: How Thanksgiving Brought Queen & Slim Creators Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas Together

We have felt the love and support of our community and everyone in this room. We appreciate the energy and support you have all shown us by showing up, and showing the fuck out.

Lena Waithe

This film is bigger than us. When I wrote this script in my office, I always made sure to leave the door open, so God could come in and guide me. … This movie is my battle cry. This film is a love letter to blackness.

A movie like this takes a village to get made and we have a very large village to thank. … First, we’d like to thank our producers for supporting our voices and this very black vision. … Thank you for realizing a movie about black love is not an indie film, but… could potentially make a lot of money at the box office.

The new issue of MovieMaker, with the full conversation between Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas about their partnership in making Queen & Slimis available now. Queen & Slim is in theaters Nov. 27.