What a time to be alive, my peoples. And by that I mean, what a time to be Black, in a society that still ripples from slavery about 150 years ago (that’s only two generations by the way, fam) and still pay admission to see a new slavery movie every year. But I do not come to you humble readers with my head bowed with a typical “slavery was horrible, but at least there’s a White dude who was less terrible than most that helped the protagonist escape” movie. This meal, Birth of a Nation, has set in the stomach of many a Black folk that both love movies and know their history. There is no mistaking the storied name of this movie, as it is an attempt at reclaiming it from the cinematic symbol of White Supremacy by the same name. This movie, starred and directed by Nate Parker, which sold for a record amount at Sundance, tells the story of the almost mythical Nat Turner, leader of the largest North American slave revolt in history.
Now look, you’ve seen slave, segregation, good ol’ “racism that happened so long ago it doesn’t relate to anything in 2016″ movies before [blink] …but the story of Nat Turner is one we never thought was going to be told, at least not on a big screen. Most of those movies show calm, dignified Black folk with unbreakable spirit, but easy to split bodies; they don’t talk back until the climax of the film and in the end, a White dude saves the day.
But Nat… Nat killed a lot of White folks. Like over 70 in a couple of days. Brothas get shot for running away from one cop and that shit gets justified by your White Facebook friends linking Breitbart articles, so how the hell they gonna watch a movie where every White person in the Big House got slaughtered? I’m not gonna wait for the answer because I’ll be too busy sitting in the butter-soft leather seats at the theater, early for all the previews and everything. I wish they still did the THX screen at the theater so I could be like, “I can’t hear your White Slave master apologist tears over the sound of this incredible sound engineering, fam!”
It ain’t gonna be a picnic though. This ain’t gonna be two hours of Slave-on-White crime, yo. The amount of pain in the first minute of this trailer enough to fuck your day up. Especially with, dare I say, an appropriate use of Nina’s “Strange Fruit” as an opening to the trailer. Just watch it one time. Get in your feels for a second. If you’re at work, go ahead and take that “I’m going to the bathroom, but I’m really just sitting in the stall with my headphones to watch this” break. Then get ready to support this when it hits the theaters. And don’t hurt any of your well-meaning White co-workers after you watch this. Actually, you know what, wait till you’re about to leave work or when you’re already off, because some of y’all can’t be trusted.
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I’ll be there in October. As a historian, I’ve always thought Nat Turner’s story would make for an excellent film.
I thought a generation was 20 years (you know–baby grows up and has a baby).
Stephen Darryl Suggs
I don’t disagree on any particular point, but…
… where you going that the theater has ‘butter-soft leather seats?’
I thought THE SAME THING! I wanna go to Ohio if their theaters are baller like that! 😛
Can’t speak for him. but Studio Movie Grill has really comfy seats and service!
Always love reading things you write Will. No exception here. I wonder if the 99% white town of 10k that I live in will even bother to have this in the theater? I mean,Oregon is liberal and filled with a lot of the white guilt, but I don’t know if they have THAT much! >_<
I expect a lot of thinkpieces. ALOT. One thing I will say though, is that I can’t wait to see folks use this film as some sorta “proof” racism is dead, especially as it pertains to theatre, because you know they are.
Can’t wait to see this movie not your typical Esau movie
I, personally will be enjoying this at my favorite AMC. The big, comfy, leather recliners and an adult beverage (yes, they serve alcohol) will make my viewing quite enjoyable…
LMBO This was a fun to read article. I love your humor. I plan to watch it at least two times (even though I have a feeling it is NOT going to live up to the hype). I plan to watch it at the whitest of the whitest theater to see how white folks react. I then plan to see it in BROOKLYN (wait, maybe not Brooklyn) HARLEM (um white folks took over there too – gentrification is real fam) alright, then QUEENS – yeah QUEENS in the house! Where my black folks at!
Seriously, I wish brother Nate much success!
I wasn’t thrilled to hear about this movie when it was first announced. I’m tired of black people suffering, black people being the entertainment, and black people as the “help” being the primary movies that Hollywood wants to tell about our experiences. Not to mention, if I want to see us suffer, I can turn on the news and listen to the latest report of cops killing us. But now that it looks like Nate Parker is probably a rapist, I’m definitely not going to see this movie.
The woman was unconscious. You cannot consent if you are in any altered state of consciousness, which means that was rape. And the man has not owned up to what he did. He frames it as a “bad moment” for him. Dude, what about the woman you raped? She has to live with what you did to her for the rest of her life.
No, I won’t be supporting him (just like I don’t support Woody Allen).
There’s definately a great deal to know about this topic… I like all of the points you have made.