Monday, October 17, 2016

Why I Won't See Birth Of A Nation

The movie Birth of a Nation came to a theater near you two weekends ago... and was promptly declared a "flop". Now there are articles being shared online blaming Black women for this box office flop and I really feel the need to address this. Let me just type this: I am sick to death of the idea that Black women get blamed for all the wrongdoings and downfalls of the Black community. Lately it seems like we are responsible for everything. It is our fault that we get married later in life or that we don't get married at all, that we have children out of wedlock, that Black men are jailed/killed/victims of brutality, That Black men marry outside our race, that our children are not productive, that the sky is blue and fucking grass is green. Now we (as a group) are blamed because a Black man's movie failed at the box office. I wasn't going to see Birth of a Nation. That hasn't changed. After all, I did tell Lefty that I wouldn't take him to anymore Black movies, because we have seen a lot. Date nights in this household... LOL. Seriously, there are several reasons why I really have no need to see this movie, the most glaring being:

**I already know the story. I mean, I am not trying to be too big a dick or anything, but I was a history major. I have studied this revolt. I know about it. I don't need to pay $15 to see it on-screen.**

That seems harsh when I read it. Oh well, that shit is true. If you don't know the story, please feel free to read up on Nat Turner, African American history, U.S. History. Let me just say: because I do know the story I feel comfortable in noting that this film about a slave revolt might not have been well received anyway. In all historical accounts, a large number of White folks were murdered during this uprising. In our current political climate here in America, the idea that downtrodden Black folks (you know, like, folks that are indiscriminately being killed by state actors like the police, or those being disenfranchised during this election season) would ban together and rise against their oppressors, could be seen as problematic. Maybe that is another reason that people didn't rush to see this movie. There is a rumor that Black women did not flock to see this movie because Nate Parker has a White wife. Uh, nope... that certainly is NOT the reason I didn't take my White husband to see this movie.

I don't know, and I don't get paid to guess so I will tell you the number one reason I won't see it: Nate Parker. That dude is so problematic. I get it-- he was found not guilty in the rape case against him. Good for him. A criminal record for an actor/director is not disqualifying for me. HOWEVER, when asked about the rape case and the subsequent suicide of the young woman involved, Nate Parker could NOT have been more repulsive. Listen, I get that the trial was probably a rough time for him, but he had to know that it was going to come up. Google is a hell of a thing-- he knew that it was made public. Why not show some sympathy for that girl's family? Why not show some... good fucking upbringing in your answers about it? I mean, I am not saying kiss anyone's ass. I'm saying that Parker COULD have said "That was a particularly hard time in my life and I feel bad that they young lady has taken her life... now let me tell you about this movie." Or, "that was a rough time for me, that young lady's family is in my thoughts and prayers." The way he (almost) cried for himself in that 60 minutes interview... he could have given some of that sympathy for that girl's family. I mean damn, I am a salty bitch, but even I act like I have feelings when speaking about victims and their families. And it isn't fake concern-- I didn't know that young woman but I feel bad that she was sexually assaulted. I feel bad that she thought that her only option was to take her own life. And that is an outside person looking in on this shit show.

I am many things: Black, woman, liberal, feminist, wife, mother, sister, daughter, etc. I feel sympathy and empathy for many groups and people. Nate Parker could have been better. I think he knows that. I have (almost) moved past yelling at people to get my point across. When the jury in the George Zimmerman trial found that fucker not guilty, I swore off the entire state of Florida. I haven't vacationed there, hell, I don't even buy Florida oranges. I vote with my money-- every day. It may not be much, but it is what I am able to do. Hell, I wanted to see the movie Sully. Tom Hanks is in it and it looked good, but it was directed by Clint Eastwood, who has lost his damn mind, so that was a no go. I want to see Hacksaw Ridge, which comes out soon, but it was directed by Mel Gibson, so... hell no. So, again, I will vote with my money and not see Birth of a Nation, but all the people blaming ALL Black women for the flop can go see it and tell me if it is good. (Feel that side eye action).

Does the story of Nat Turner need to be told? Absolutely. Do I, as a Black woman, need to make sure my daughter knows the story? Absolutely. Do I need to watch a movie directed by a seemingly non-sympathetic asshat? Nah, I don't.

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