When I found out that a Nat Turner film was going to be made, I knew then that I had to see it. We were finally getting a slave movie to show how angry and upset we were. Finally, we had a movie that wouldn’t just show us laying down to be slaves. Finally we had a movie we were fighting back! This was the type of movie we needed. Not only was it about us fighting back, but it was both written and directed by a black man (unlike the previous slave movies that have come out over the past few years). What could get any better than that?
Opening weekend, I made it a point to go see and support this movie. Regardless of his rape case, which he was not guilty of according to the courts, and his white wife, I felt this Nate Parker film was worth supporting. This was the type of film that would portray American slavery from the perspective of our own people. Unlike Django, which was directed by a white man, this was written and directed by us. So, I made sure that no matter what, I was seeing this movie. And I was not disappointed.
Overall this film was great (don’t worry I won’t give away any spoilers). I cried and everything! I loved being able to see the role of the black preacher during these times. I feel like this is normally neglected, but with this film, it showed how enslaved black preachers were used to calm the rest of the slaves and encourage them to be obedient to their white masters so that they could go to heaven. I also thought that Gabrielle Union’s speechless role was powerful. It showed how we didn’t have any control over our bodies and couldn’t even use our voice to say no. To this day, where rape continues to be a huge discussion that causes a lot of confusion, it’s important to note that a no is not always needed for it to be rape, and in the case of black women, we weren’t even allowed to say no. It just makes me wonder where all these white feminists were when their men were raping us… Ain’t I a woman? But that’s a whole nother topic (yes I said nother lol). Of course, I absolutely loved the part where they were finally rebelling. I mean…. it was just POWERFUL. To see the unity, the fearlessness, the pride! Although they didn’t make it, these men died free men. They died fighting for what they believed in. They were not afraid to go against their oppressors, and they sacrificed their lives for the freedom that we have today. My favorite part of the rebellion (spoiler) is when he burst into a room, killed the white master, and rescued a young “bed wench” (who looked like she could have been a teen). It showed, contrary to what our mulatto brotha J Cole insists upon, him saving her, and that she, in fact, did want to be saved.
I loved this film, and I believe that it’s a must see for all black people. It is not a typical slave movie. Not only was it a great film, but it produced a lot of unity and discussion among the people who did go see it. All the black people came out feeling like one and were reminded of who our real enemies are instead of each other. This is a film that definitely should be supported. Don’t let unrelated things, like Nate Parker’s wife or a crime he wasn’t even convicted of, deter you from seeing The Birth of a Nation. If so, I can guarantee it will be a long time before we see another strong black character like this on the big screen. GO SEE IT.