screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-24-41-pmOn a day that was supposed to be record breaking for the actor, director, producer, and music performer, Nate Parker’s success was overshadowed by the stigma of his past. Parker’s film, “Birth of a Nation”, was released October 7, 2016. Parker’s film is based on the true story of the enslaved man Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia.

Nat Turner’s Rebellion,”marked the turning point in the African American struggle for liberation”. Turner’s acts are said to be “patriotic” and would inspire others to indulge in their own struggles for liberation. Nat Turner’s legacy was to be defined and embraced in Parker’s film. The film’s success was expected to very well in the box office and even said to be Oscar deserving. “Birth of a Nation” came in sixth place in the box office, falling short of the hype and overshadowed by the media resurfacing Nate Parker’s 1999 rape trial, the movie flopped.

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-25-56-pmIn 1999, while a college student at Penn State, Nate Parker was accused of rape but later found not guilty at trial. Parker’s issues surrounding this case would come back to haunt him as the media embraced the old case and shed light on the rape charge. The fate of the film was obvious. How could it be otherwise? Here’s a film set forth to tell the story of an enslaved Baptist preacher who turns rebellious in his quest for justice and freedom. Here lies an opportunity to tell the story from a very detailed perspective and to even give the story the proper justice it deserved. The film’s potential would be stigmatized because of the scandal tied to its co-writer.

The topic of slavery is a sensitive one and to create a film based on this historic rebellion creates an even more sensitive topic. There was definitely no need for any extra controversy surrounding the film, which is why the Nate Parker’s scandal sealed the fate of the film’s success.



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