Janelle Monáe, Gabourey Sidibe on the deep story behind their thriller 'Antebellum'

The singer and actress discuss their roles in the film and how it confronts the past, present and future while celebrating Black female friendship.
8:00 | 09/17/20

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Transcript for Janelle Monáe, Gabourey Sidibe on the deep story behind their thriller 'Antebellum'
Oscar nominee gabourey sidibe and eight-time grammy nominated artist Janelle monae star in the new thriller "Antebellum" which looks at how America's past history is still very much shaping the present. Take a look. The disenfranchisement of black people in America is by design written into this country. Your argument however flawed has been successfully promoted and propagated through repetition. We hear it over and over again, but I'm here to tell you that this vicious cycle of inequity will soon be broken. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Mommy, why was that man so angry? Oh, baby. That is a really great question. Well, welcome back. Welcome back the fabulous gabourey sidibe and the first time I think this is Janelle monae's first time with us. So welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Thanks. Thank you for having me. Janelle, in "Antebellum," you play a modern author who finds herself connected to a civil war slave plantation. There's a big twist in the movie so I don't want to give too much away. But you say this movie is going to trigger some people. We are in a reckoning right now, and I think whenever you're dealing with, you know, traumas, especially as a black person, when you are dealing with that, it can be very triggering. My hope is that we can continue the conversation that's happening. I had a rare opportunity to portray Veronica inlee who was a successful author and she finds herself trapped in this horrifying reality where she has to confront the past, the present and the future before it's too late, and this film will connect the dots. There's no way that we can talk about white supremacy and systemic racism without speaking about slavery, and understanding when we say, defund the police or when we say, abolish the police, we're talking about the fact that during the civil war, during the civil war, the earliest institution of policing was the slave patrol and it wasn't to protect and serve the people. It was to hunt down and kill and traumatize black folks. So we are -- we are in a reckoning of having to look at these racist policies that have continued to oppress minorities for far too long. Well, I certainly watched it last night and was triggered. So a lot of people will be talking and thinking a lot about this film. And gabby, you play a modern, empowered woman in the film. You do it wonderfully. Your scenes with Janelle celebrate female black friendship and sisterhood. I heard Janelle called you specifically to be in the movie. What was that conversation like? It was actually pretty easy. I actually -- I had done a panel with Janelle's manager. One of her managers, Mikhail during the film and I was, like, that would be really cool. I can't wait to see the movie, and then when Janelle and I spoke after reading the script, I told her how much I connected to the script just because I had gone to Ghana right before I read the script, and I visited a slave castle, and I was reminded that slavery was supposed to be forever, you know? It was never supposed to stop. Like, we interrupted slavery, and so I thought this concept of this film where we're experiencing slavery again made the most sense in the world to me at the time. Well, Janelle, you just released an amazing new anthem called "Turntables" for the Stacey Abrams fight for democracy, and it's about voter you said recently, you have been too emotionally exhausted to create new music. Can you tell us about that, and what convinced you to record this song? Well, just Stacey Abrams. She is the real deal. She's for the people. I was in Atlanta, Georgia when Brian Kemp stole the election from Stacey Abrams. It was the votes over running for governor, and there's proof this has indeed happened, and I'm upset, and I told her, hey. If you ever need me, call me, and I had an opportunity to watch the documentary and I had a week to get a song together, and I said, this -- we're in the middle of a revolutionary, and we're going to have to lean on each other. Everybody's going to need energy, and this was just my way of giving energy to the revolutionaies leading this movement, and making sure we really do safe our democracy. One other thing I just want to say though about this film is that this is not a slave movie. This is also honoring the black women right now who are amplifying the voices of marginalized people like Maxine waters fighting every single day to protect us, when you think about Angela rye, when you think about women like patrisse cullors, or what it means to be a black woman living today, and carrying the burden of dismantling systemic racism on the backs every day, and I wanted globally for people to understand what that looks like. It should not be a black woman's job to do this at all. Yet it's being done. So this was a way also to honor the present-day incredible way standing for us every single day. Gabby, I have a question for you're encouraging young people not only to vote in this election, but work to polls as why is that so important to you? Yes. I directed two pas for spread the vote, and it's in order to encourage younger black and tinos to work the polls because -- because older people are more susceptible to getting coronavirus right now, and what we want to do is we want to make sure they stay safe, and they stay home because if we don't have people working at the polls, then we'll have less polling places, and this election is already going to be hard enough to vote in in the first place, and so I just wanted to do everything I can to make sure that we know that, "A," we need polling workers. "B," you can be paid for it, and contract "C," to get younger people to do it, so we can keep people safe. Very nice. Janelle, you were friends with the fabulous Chadwick Boseman, and you posted a wonderful tribute to him on social media. Tell me quickly your favorite memory of him. Wow. Chadwick is -- I still know that his spirit is, like, with us. Mm-hmm. So I'm going to speak, like, presently. Chadwick is such a giving person, and someone who stayed present. I got an opportunity to host them because I met Chadwick through one of my good friends, and when they were filming "Black panther," I had an opportunity. Oh, yes. Right. I had an opportunity, and they were in Atlanta and I said, come on over. I want to host you guys. Baby, I got to take us out. Our thanks to you, Janelle and gabourey and "Antebellum" premieres tomorrow. I'm sorry. At home on demand.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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