Birth of a Nation was not going to be on my list of must see movies. I made a judgement off of emotion and loyalty to the women in my life that I would not go and see it, based on the information that was exposed about the films writer and director Nate Parker. It felt like the right thing to do. A woman committed suicide for many reasons we do not know, but this specific situation had to add to her agony. I feel for her and her family and anyone who is enduring the type of pain that would cause them to take their own life.
Ultimately as the movie moved closer to release I examined my position. I could not allow my emotion from experiencing a film that is so important to who we are. So on the same day that the first Black president was raising funds for the election down the street from Kanye’s Saint Pablo tour I decided to go and see the film with no reservations.
The film begins with a vision, The vision is placed in folklore, religion and ancestry. Nat Turner is destined for the journey that he is on. The film then becomes another slave movie, except this time you know their will be accountability on the part of those unleashing pain and suffering on anyone with Black skin. It happens and I find myself unfulfilled as if it was not enough. Watching interactions with overseers and slaves run parallel to the interactions that Black people are having in 2016. It’s eye opening, sobering and not surprising. I’m not sure what I expected. I left the theatre feeling everything but happiness. As I walked out of the doors of the Chatham theater I felt empty, angry and sad. In the background I hear murmurings of “Look at what our ancestors went through, and we still moving backwards.” The brothers I lock eyes with are speechless. What did we just watch. What are we called to do, who can we trust?
I’m glad I decided to go see the film in spite of the controversy that surrounded it. It shook up a reality inside of me. A reality that must be addressed. What are we willing to die for? Now is the time to straighten out our backs.
Nat Turner should be honored, as a man. A man who decided it was time to do something. Now, what do we do?
Please comment below. Let me know what you think.
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