Sundance 2016 was the first time I heard about Nate Parker’s film – The Birth of a Nation. The Black independent filmmaking community was grinning and skinning that Parker’s film was the highest purchase of Sundance’s history. Kudos, kudos, kudos! Talk of Oscar award was spreading like wild fire. Black storytellers everywhere were simply delighted because Nate’s film flipped the script on a racist staple of the rich Hollywood storytelling community.
Then something happened.
White American powers-that-be decided to knock Parker’s film off the award and accolades train track.
Because how dare this Black man – Parker – rewrite a film that exalted America’s white forced thought of supremacy and their signature hate group – the KKK? How dare Parker rewrite the white version of The Birth of a Nation that America has showcased for decades as cinema excellence while showing the merciless killings of Black men, women and children, and the heartlessness of white America?
As a curator of award-winning international independent films from people of color for over 15 years, I watched 12 Years A Slave several times and saw a white hero save the poor Black man from the torture of slavery.
I now have watched The Birth of a Nation 2016 twice, a film telling the story of Nat Turner’s rebellion from a Black perspective. Hands down, The Birth of a Nation by Parker is cinema mastery for its magnificent storyline based on a true story, acting, cinematography, set design, costume design, music composition, symbolism, messaging, excellence in Hollywood storytelling with an independent budget and TELLING THE TRUTH about western history.
As I watched The Birth of a Nation, I cried, I cussed, I cheered, I damned and I rejoiced when Nat Turner saw the angel.
On behalf of all Black Americans, I want to apologize to Parker for our community not supporting him. We drank the distract and mislead juice that white America always serves up to our community when someone speaks out and up for Black people.
I read the transcript from Parker’s trial, and young consenting adults do freaky things — just as many white actors, directors, producers and candidates for president are still doing well beyond their youthful ignorance. Bless the woman who took her life. But Parker’s actions may not have been the driving force of her suicide.
If Parker was acquitted on charges of rape, how dare people bring that up now to condemn this man who has brought a cultural-mind-changing film to the Black masses?
I see you white America as you strive to discredit The Birth of Nation 2016 – many of us have eyes that are open now!
As far as Parker being married to a white woman, I will admit, that gave me a pause. But I dismissed that as being Parker’s ignorance and cultural conditioning in thinking a white woman is better than a woman of color. I overlooked that because his film – The Birth of a Nation – is much bigger than Parker himself or me for that matter.
If you know anything about the Most High, Spirit will make you do things beyond your own control! The Birth of a Nation 2016 is just that! And it is not a coincident that Nate Parker is the writer, director, productor and starring actor in a movie about Nat Turner. The synergy of the names is prophetic. Black America we MUST go out and support this film!
The Birth of a Nation 2016 is a box office success. Do the numbers for yourself. For the screens the film has been released on, and the total budget of the film, The Birth of a Nation 2016 is a success!
To my beloved Black community — especially young people — and all other people of America who do not realize they are Black — white America included — go out right now and see The Birth of a Nation written, produced, directed and starring Nate Parker along with a fantastic cast of dynamic actors of all colors. Do not deprive yourself of immediate pride and a new knowingness while supporting a brother who stepped out on faith to make this film.
Think about it! Self-preservation is the first law of nature. I know what America has taught us in public schools and history books about the Black slave experience. But I want you to ask yourself one thing. Do you really believe all slaves in America were just happy servants ready to do anything for massa?
The Birth of a Nation cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Bonne Junior, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Gueneur Smith, Gabrielle Union, Tony Espinosa, Jayson Warner Smith, Jason Stuart, Chike Okonkwo, Katie Garfield, Kai Norris, Chris Greene, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Steve Coulter, Jeryl Prescott, Justine Randell Brooke, Dominic Bogart, Justin M. Smith, Allen Phoenix, Aiden Flowers, Dane Davenport, Ryan Mulkay, Danny Vinson, Tom Proctor, Dan Cox, Brad Schmidt, William Mark McCullough, Chief Olaitan, Coletrane Williams, Elijah C. Walker, Alkoya Brunson, Hank Stone, Cullen Moss, Gabriela Novogratz, Griffin Freeman, Courtney Julien, Tim McAdams, Todd Terry, David Andrew Nash, Jaye Tyroff, David Paul Lord, Scott Loeser, Greg Sproles, Andy Martin, Kemuel Crossty.
The Birth of a Nation Trailer 2016: Watch Now