Opinion

BY WALTER CANADY

 

Nate Parker image

ERNESTO DI STEFANO PHOTOGRAPHY VIA GETTY IMAGES

The “Birth of a Nation” is a highly anticipated drama scheduled to premier on October 7. For those that are unknowledgeable,  this will be the first mainstream film to do the story of Nat Turner. The mainstream audiences in most cases have disseminated the narratives of the stereotypical slave story, such as movies like “12 Years a Slave” or the Lee Daniels’ film, “The Butler”. This film is so unique in its conception because this anecdote is about the life of a slave who would go on to lead one of the biggest African American slave rebellions. Even with all of the propitious excitement behind this movie, the tables have turned behind an incident that transpired with the leading character / executive producer Nate Parker. Parker and his lifelong friend Jean Celestin were accused of rape. The incident happened at Pennsylvania State University in 1999. This story has “resurfaced” because the lady that accused Nate and Jean committed suicide in 2012. The accusation, and case is very dejecting and hard to ideate the feeling of a person who has been through the experience of being sexually abused. What’s interesting about this case is that Nate was actually acquitted or in other words found not guilty, while Jean was convicted and the conviction ended up being overturned due to an appeal. So, technically the two accusers were found not guilty in a case that is now being conveyed as they were not. Another thing that I found interesting is that the reason that’s been expressed to me, for most of the major media outlets the purpose of resurfacing the story, is because of the fact that the accuser had committed suicide just four years ago. My problems with these declarations are that, particularly Parker has been in umpteen movies since the year 2012, movies such as “Beyond the Lights,” “‘Red Tails,” and “Eden.” What is the difference between these movies and his upcoming movie film “Birth of a Nation,”?  Subject matter. I think this movie will be such a pivotal film,  I say pivotal because we are living in a time where the treatment of African Americans is being questioned. This movie could portray the same anger that was exhibited during the Turner rebellion as it correlates to today. As I stated earlier the story of Turner has never been story promulgated as far as mainstream movies and media, well in comparison to the stereotypical sad and conquered narratives of African Americans. So the average American may not know about the importance of this story, and how for people who feel defeated and conquered, this movie may be the strength to show those there is much more to them and their history than slavery and defeat. So with all this being said step back and try to see the bigger purpose behind this movie, this possible movement behind it. This is definitely a movie that should be seen despite the attempt destroy it.