History begins to rewrite itself in a new mind-bending and socially-conscious thriller led by the multihyphenate herself, Janelle Monáe.
Known for their forward-thinking and captivating work such as Jay-Z’s “Kill Jay-Z” music video and their 2016 short, “Against The Wall”, directing duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz are holding nothing back in their first feature film.
“[Antebellum]” speaks for itself,” says Bush unapologetically. “We hope that people will take something away from it that makes them feel like it has activated a conversation among themselves and other people.”
Sure to get people talking, ‘Antebellum’ follows Monáe’s character, Veronica/Eden, an author who becomes trapped inside a horrifying twisted reality as she fights to escape a world set in a timeline dating back to the pre-civil war era and slavery.
Following the unprecedented global closure of movie theaters earlier this year, the allegory-laden film originally slated to premiere in theaters April 24th will now be available as VOD (video-on-demand) starting September 18th. While ‘Antebellum’ may have had a delayed release date, for Monáe it’s “right on time.”
The eight-time Grammy-nominated recipient and visual storyteller paused before speaking on ‘Antebellum’s’ eerie connection to the current climate of systematic racism against the black community.
“I feel like this film effectively connects the dots between the past, the present, and what the future can be. One of the things that I think was important is to remind people that the past is not the past. Everything that we’re experiencing, and I’m speaking about black people, when we’re experiencing the amplification and being recipients of racist policies and experiencing the amplification of white supremacy and systematic racism we can not not talk about the past,” Monáe says.
“I think that this film highlights what it’s like to be a black woman, to carry the burden of having to dismantle white supremacy every single day, dismantle systematic racism every single day,” Monáe says before taking a beat. “I wanted to honor my ancestors, I also wanted to honor the black women that I think have done a remarkable job in our communities to speak out against and fight for marginalized voices and black people like all of the women who form Black lives Matter.”
Sharing similar sentiments on the subject was co-star, Tongayi Chirisa, who plays the role of Eli/The Professor.
“God forbid that this particular moment that we have becomes another conversation because somebody made a movie and they’re still talking about the freedoms 10 years from now – enough is enough,” Chirisa says exasperatedly while castmate, Kiersey Clemons nods in agreement. “There’s no way you can’t say you do not know [the] truth when [the] truth is put in front of you. What you choose to do with that in unto you, but the truth is out there and at this point, we are obviously seeing that somebody or some people don’t want things to change.”
While ‘Antebellum’ might showcase things some may find uncomfortable, for others like Jena Malone who plays the role of “Elizabeth”, wife to a slave owner, the film offers an opportunity to look back at their history to help push the conversation forward.
“It was like trying to invite my great grandmothers [and great grand fathers] into the room….like I have love and respect for you all but I need to have some really hard conversations with you,” Malone says with a knowing look.
“I need to ask [my grandparents] why you did these things, what we’re your motivations,” Malone questions before continuing. “Why were you using your children to indoctrinate this white systematic delusion onto them? If felt like a really oddly cathartic but necessary dive into white trauma.”
Overall, ‘Antebellum’ is bound to bring a thrill to horror fans alike and in turn may contribute to a much-needed and timely dialogue. Check out our exclusive interviews above!