I feel so let down. I remember when I first heard about someone producing and directing a movie based on the life of Nat Turner I was so excited! I knew I wanted to be the first to see the movie and digest it. You could not tell me that this wasn’t going to be the blackest movie to be produced in recent years. Yup, my mind was made up and you couldn’t tell me any different.
Then I read the Ebony article about Nate Parker and his past transgressions that involved rape and a suicide. At first, I was bemused about the allegations and the timing of its release but then I read the court documents and I cried. Following that, I saw way too many back men defend him under the notion that ‘he was acquitted’, noting that it would be almost impossible for a black man to rape a white woman and not get off on it. Some black women and men feel that a white woman being assaulted and not being criminally charged is a ‘victory’. It’s not -under any circumstances is it ok to violate a woman’s body without consent.
With “The Birth Of A Nation” on the verge of being released nationally, the cast is obligated to do press runs. Today, I was able to sit at an Q and A with Nate Parker and cast and not only were they late, they opted out of the Q and A part of the audience. After sitting through his interview, here are a few things I learned about Nate Parker today:
1. Parker wants to be the go-to person for white people to contact about black issues.
2. Parker talks in circles.
3. He genuinely believes he’s doing God’s work.
4. His real audience is not black people but white Evangelicals.
5. He doesn’t want to talk to black media.
6. He might be a fucking a Sociopath and we need to campaign to get this man some help.
7. Parker sat right in front of my face and tried to explain the differences between “pre-eurocentric Jesus vs the ‘white’ one”.
8. He indeed has a punchable face.
9. I absolutely believe he’s a date rapist.
10. He would rather engage a white audience because he is dripping in hotepery .
11. He’s short.
12. After he wrapped up his interview, he thanked all the black people in the back but didn’t bother to engage them on camera or be available for their questions.
13. He has weird body language with his female co-stars.
14. It might not be a reach to assume that Nate Parker doesn’t really understand Nat Turner like he says he does.
15. Nate Parker believes Nat Turner wanted to live peacefully with his slavemasters.
16. Nate Parker believes that Turner didn’t really want to kill his slavemasters but wanted to restore order in society or whatever that means.
I thought about the situation he was accused of and it reminded me of myself when I was in college. There was a guy I had classes with for about a year and he asked me out on a date. I was really focused on my studies and I didn’t want to date. I didn’t want to date because I was in school full-time and I worked two jobs at the time so I just didn’t have the time. I felt comfortable with this guy because we had classes together and he was a little older. He was charismatic, funny and really had a persona of being over-the-top. It was annoying but it was cool because I thought he was funny.
We went out to dinner and we hung out afterward, I had an interview with a professional athlete and he met me there. He told me how proud he was of me and how he liked working with me in class. I felt safe with him and rightfully so. We had drinks and dinner and we ended up making out and having sex. It was my choice and I was ok with it, at best we could hang out again and at worse, we could still be cool – either way worked for me at the time.
He calls me again and arranges for us to meet in Brooklyn because he had just moved and wanted me to visit him. At first, I denied him but he kept asking and I finally gave in. We decided that I would come to his place in Brooklyn and spend the night, I was ok with that. When I got to his place, he wasn’t there and told me to wait for him. I figured he might have gone to the store so I waited. When he arrived he asked me if I wanted to eat or have drinks and I said ok. He gave me access to his room and told me he would be back. He was gone for about an hour. When he returned, he was with his friend. I had never seen the guy before as he didn’t go to out school so I figured he probably saw him on his way back with food. He gave me the food and told me to eat. He walked out the bedroom and left the door open, I sat up on the bed and his friend walked in, closing the door behind him. I jumped up off the bed and he looked at me in awe. I asked where was my friend and he told me in the living room. I opened the door and saw him with is back turned in the living area on the phone. I opened the door wide open and kept my eye on him. His friend asked me if I wanted to watch a movie and I said no. I called my friend out by his name and asked him to come to me. He walked in and had the most disgusting smirk on his face. His expression turned my stomach, I was on high alert.
I sat down in a chair and his friend sat next to me and I went into bitch mode, I started talking loud and cursing. I told my friend I was leaving and his friend jumped up and left. I gathered my things because I was ready to go home. As I was packing, he grabbed me and tried to kiss me. I was trying to get him off me and he thought me telling him no meant I just wanted him to engage me more. I was offended and scared. I tried to leave and he slammed the door. He too was an athlete and was physically stronger than me. I told him if he didn’t let me leave without a problem not only will I tear up his new apartment but the police will come because I was ready to scratch his eyes out. He thought my threats were foreplay, he grabbed me again, and I tried to fight him, that turned him on more. I got out of his grip and go to the front door and he slammed the door closed. As I looked at the 6’1 240 lb muscular man, I thought about a few things; I thought about who I knew in the area, where can I run too? How could I get back to Long Island safely?
I told him to let me leave. He told me no. I told him I didn’t appreciate how he’s treated me and I no longer wanted to be in his company. He told me he wasn’t letting me leave. I told if he didn’t I would scream and break a window if I had to.
I left unharmed but I called my friend and cried as I walked to the train station. I couldn’t understand how did we get here? I could have easily been a victim too.
I think Nate Parker is a serial rapist and I think he has whitewashed Nat Turner. Nat Turner deserves better and I hope someone has the real guts to portray one of our greatest American heroes in the light they rightfully deserve.