The much anticipated film Birth of a Nation is in theaters now, yet not without its share of controversy…
After Oscar buzz began circulating, Nate Parker came under fire for past rape allegations which has women movie goers divided.
Nate Parker is an actor we adore. From The Great Debaters, Red Tails and the endearing Beyond the Lights – he’s one of our favorite actors in Hollywood.
Seventeen years ago, when he was a student at Penn State University, Parker and his roommate, Jean Celestin were accused of rape. Parker was found not guilty. Now, on the brink of a culture-changing movie, his is in the court of public opinion.
Both men admitted to having sex with the accuser, but claimed that it was consensual. The woman admitted to a prior consensual encounter with Parker, but on the night in question had consumed a lot of alcohol and said she was in and out of consciousness.
She dropped out of Penn State and after years of psychological problems, committed suicide in 2012. Many women, particularly rape survivors, question supporting the film.
After several interviews, Parker seems agitated and even cold when speaking about the situation. His appearance on the Steve Harvey Show showed more compassion, but he still managed to avoid direct questions.
I would imagine that he feels as though it does not have anything to do with Birth of a Nation – a movie that he spent nearly ten-years creating. He says he is moving past the allegations and is not apologizing for anything.
Birth of a Nation is the story of Nat Turner, an enslaved preacher that can no longer stand by as he is a witness to the horrible treatment of his people. This leads to the most violent slave rebellion in American history.
What’s troubling about the film is that a brutal rape scene takes place of Nat Turner’s wife which sparks the rebellion. However, nowhere in the history books is this evident. This is invented for the film.
I find it creepy that a fictional rape is the center of the story and that Parker would portray himself as a hero avenging that rape. It’s quite self-serving, even though he is innocent. A cruel insult to a woman who is no longer here.
This is an issue of toxic masculine identity, male privilege, consent and rape culture. Being a rape survivor, I do find myself conflicted about supporting Birth of a Nation.
Read my article about the Stanford rape case here.