Nate Parker’s “Birth of a Nation”, the story of Nat Turner, is a necessity. If you do nothing else, watch this movie. Even with its film fluff, it is a gut-wrenching biographical account of his story and 48-hour slavery revolt.
Also starring Aja Naomi King, Colman Domingo, and Gabrielle Union, “Birth of a Nation” is a two-hour tale of how a literate preacher slave started an uprising in Southampton County, Virginia. For the first time, Nat Turner’s story is frontline in a major motion picture.
While I am so intrigued by the history of Nat Turner, ironically it’s Nate Parker’s past that has taken over the spotlight for this movie. In 1999, as a student at Penn State, Nate Parker
was charged and acquitted for the alleged rape of a former companion.
The media frenzy has been crazy, overshadowing and damaging the movie’s reputation. Some went as far to suggest that the film’s rape scene, which never occurred in Nat Turner’s life,had a correlation to actual accounts of Parker’s past.
I do not believe that this particular scene had any personal reflection at all. Although it has never been recorded, the moment in the film was a true adaption of what slavery looked like. It is a well known fact that female slaves were often take advantage of in a sexual nature.
The good news is everything about Nate Parker in “Birth of a Nation” exudes a historical appreciation and admiration for Nat Turner’s story. Parker is powerful, statuesque, and positively relevant.
His supporting cast was equally brilliant. How To Get Away with Murder star Aja Naomi King, who plays Turner’s wife, Cherry, is a
delicate delight. She has quickly made her name for herself and should receive praise for her role.
Thr film cuts so deep that it’s an absolute must that everyone watches this movie. Just as people lined up for the original “Birth of a Nation” in 1915, we must rally together for this counter-narrative. Black men are not violent criminals, but a specific group of people that have been systemically manipulated, broken, and victimized.
In this case, Nat Turner was taught to read and learn the word of God to preach and promote captivity and free labor.
“Birth of a Nation” can go in the history books with “Sankofa” (1993), “Roots” (1977), and “12 Years a Slave” (2013) as a daunting classic.