I went to the movies this weekend with my mother and sister, which sounds like a lovely Sunday evening and it was. We sneaked snacks and drinks into the theater and had a grand ol’ time. This wouldn’t make much of a post besides the fact that we went to see Birth of a Nation.
Birth of a Nation is a historical drama based on Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, written and starring Nate Parker. The film premiered at the Sundance film festival early this year to great acclaim and secured a $17 million deal with Fox Searchlight. There was a ton of excitement about the film from the beginning. From the poster to the movie trailer, so many black people were partying off the idea of a film adaptation of a story of a slave fighting back against the horrors of slavery. Nate Parker was heralded as a golden child
Fast forward to a few months ago, accusations of rape committed by Parker during college as well as the news that the alleged victim had committed suicide. These accusations have overshadowed the film ever since. Parker and his “amazing” PR team have only made things worse.
Nate Parker’s past and present actions have resulted in the most exhausting rhetoric. Somehow this film has become ridiculously polarizing. If you see the movie, you’ve supported a rapist. If you don’t see the movie, you hate black men. In my humble opinion, I think much of this strife comes from the disappointment of someone we admired turning out to be a terrible person at best, and a rapist, at worst. That realization sucks.
Honestly, there’s no need to draw lines in the sand the way so many have. It was a great film, the writing, acting, music, and cinematography were wonderful. The film festival acclaim was well deserved. Aja Naomi King deserves all the awards for her performance. While not entirely historically accurate, the story was skillfully told and entertaining.
Having seen the movie, I do not feel any blacker nor any less of a woman. It is a movie. You should go see it if you feel so inclined and skip it if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to see the movie for whatever reason, you can learn more about Nat Turner here and here.