I have a difficult time keeping up with most things that are happening in the social aspect of the world. So when a friend of mine spent several days explaining how upset he was that “Birth Of A Nation” was failing, I decided to do my own research (against my better judgement) and see what all the controversy was about. And can I tell you first and foremost… I was so upset with myself that I even wasted my time to look into the nonsense. To add insult to injury, I was even more upset with the nonsense I found.


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Birth Of A Nation Failed: And Here’s Why I Don’t Care

I have been hearing about this film for quite some time. So much so that I thought it was released a very long time ago and was just so amazing/ doing so well that people couldn’t stop talking about it. I had no idea that it was receiving rave reviews simply from the Sundance Film Festival and hadn’t made its debut in theaters yet. I knew that Nate Parker was behind the film and that was all I knew. I had no idea what the film was about, though using context clues, I figured it would have a historic slave expository theme to it. Didn’t have a single idea who was in the film or what the exact premise of the film truly was. With that being said I was aware of the buzz the movie was generating.

Flash forward to about a month ago, my socially aware friend starts dropping information into our text exchange about a sexual assault scandal that would possibly affect the outcome of Birth Of A Nation’s opening weekend. Without much thought I entertained the conversation, and went along with my day. After the research (and I really mean articles I found on Google if you can truly call that research) I performed, I cared even less about “what this film means to us as a ‘Black’ culture”. Not a single FUCK was given about what this would do for Nate Parker’s career, or what this would mean for nominations during award season. Why?

Two reasons really… and I’ll try to be as brief as I possibly can be.

1. “Black Women Are To Blame For The Failure of Birth Of A Nation”: Simply typing these words made my skin CRAWL. I ran into an article “8 Reasons Black Women Are Not To Blame For The Birth of A Nation’s Poor Box Office Performance”  and I couldn’t help but wonder why in the WORLD did this article even have to be made. I had no idea this was even a thing. Had no clue that black women were being told that they are the reason behind a box office failure simply because maybe… just MAYBE they decided they didn’t want to give their money or their support to a man that was a accused of rape. As if that is not their choice they must be publicly shamed, and then publicly “defended” by 8 reasons that would explain why a film failed. Seriously? Oddly enough as a woman (and I mean this as sarcastically as possible incase my tone is lost via text) I take sexual assault very seriously. And if I decide that I don’t want to spend my hard earned money supporting ANYONE no matter their skin color or their content who has been involved in sexual misconduct that is my decision and my right. I should not feel bad for having a moral compass that I abide by, simply for purposes of solidarity. All too often women, especially black women are TOLD they must stand for the cause, well TOO fucking bad I’m not standing for this one.

2. The Black male ego: I love black men. It annoys me that I even have to state this to justify my next sentiment… but I am not naive and I know how the internet works. So I say all of that just to say this… just because I love and support black men does not mean I excuse their bad behavior. Nate Parker is at the top of the “blame list” as to why this film isn’t doing as well as people had hoped. His hubris blinded him as it does for many Black men. Including my friend who is so baffled and annoyed at the lack of support the film has received that he too has turned a blind eye to the basis of reality. To believe in conspiracy theories more so than to believe in the truth of what has occurred is dangerous. Saying that “black people” don’t know what is good for them because they did not go see a movie to “learn history” is ridiculous. Tone down the excessive pride just one notch and see the true writing on the wall.

Could it be that “Birth of a Nation” did not do as well because it simply was just not as good as other movies that have made the transition into stellar film success. Is that an option that we are willing to accept or are we stuck on the whole notion that blacks don’t support blacks when it truly matters? Because if that is the case please ask yourself when is the last time you have done anything for the “community” you speak of. If the premise to your support is buying a movie ticket to a film… which by the way was acquired by Fox Searchlight… let that sink in for a minute, then you really need to re-evauate your priorities. Because I for one… don’t care that this movie failed and once this post is published it’ll be even further off of my radar.

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3 Responses to Birth Of A Nation Failed And Here’s Why I Don’t Care

  1. I totally agree with #1 and some of #2. I don’t believe we have to blindly support a movie or anything because a black person is behind it especially as women when it was a black man accused of a sexual crime. I have been following this movie since Sundance. I then followed the social media reporting of the case and read the transcripts. I was disturbed. It was horrible. I was saddened and conflicted as to how I could now see a movie and support him when I had been so excited about it months ago. In the end I did see it lady weekend. It was a great movie. I do give him credit for working so hard on it for years and getting it this type of movie done and sold in Hollywood. A record sale in face. I cried at the end because it was so moving. I do feel he tarnished the movie and that’s why it didn’t have a bigger box office draw. But I don’t blame anyone, black or female who feel they couldn’t stand behind him to see it. But, based on the movie itself I do recommend seeing it. It stands up there with 12 years a Slave in my mind or any other historical movie reminding us what we went through and can’t go back to.

  2. We love pointing the finger at others when things don’t go as expected. Maybe…just maybe it was a poorly-written story. Maybe…just maybe society is saturated with good historical depictions of slavery, and this one just isn’t as good. Perhaps the revelation of the actor’s sexual misconduct detracted from its following. I didn’t see the movie, but not because of the actor. Good post!