There has been so much controversy surrounding the movie Birth Of A Nation. Some of the controversy was very calculated to get people not to want to support the Nate Parker. Other controversy was surrounding the movie to prohibit people from seeing the movie. I have to admit with all the voices about the movie made me think twice about going to see it.
After much debate and thought I decided to go see Birth of Nation. Putting all the chatter behind me, my focus was to see this movie with the same excitement I had when I first heard about it. Here are my thoughts:
Birth of a Nation was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. A great movie for me is when I become emotionally attached to a character in the story and it didn’t happen in Birth of Nation. Also, from the beginning to midway through the movie I felt as though I was watching a love story between Nat Turner and his wife. Considering that Nat Turner made history for the revolt, I was hoping the movie would have been more centered around the revolt.
What did strike me was Nat Turner was used to preach to slaves in order to keep slaves submissive to their masters. Turner would tell the slaves to count it all joy and be faithful to their masters, while slaves were hungry, beat down, and suffering. I immediately thought about preachers of today preaching the same sermon to the church in the black community that is suffering both socially and economically.
Once the movie was over I felt nothing, which was kind of disappointing. When you watch movies like Birth of Nation you’re expecting to be inspired, proud, stronger as a black man and woman. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for me. I don’t know if it was because there was no real victory for Nate Turner, most of the men who fought in the revolt died along with a number of other slaves. Or, if the characters in the story lacked those things that made you connect to the story.
I respect Nate Parker for wanting to tell a story that may have never been told. We need more stories to be told by us,about us, for us. We just have to make sure that when we tell our story that we inspire the same hope, power, and strength that the people we are talking about had.
I’m not saying don’t go see the movie. On the flip side I’m not saying run out and see it. That’s your choice. Either way take a moment to learn about great figures in your history outside of the norm.