Shared August 6, 2019
Actress Cynthia Erivo is facing a backlash for her upcoming role as American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Many are upset that Erivo, who is Nigerian-British, was given the part instead of an African American actress and they’ve been voicing their opinions online using #NotMyHarriet, #HarrietDeservesBetter, and #ADOS.
Criticism over Erivo’s casting began in 2017 when her casting was announced. She responded, and in an interview with Bustle, said she understood the argument: "I get that there is upset for me playing this role, and I understand where it comes from. It comes from so many African-American women feeling that they don’t get seen. There just isn’t enough when it comes to film and TV and entertainment. There isn’t enough — nowhere near enough — for us, as women of color, to see ourselves. And so I understand why this particular role, which is held to high esteem in this community, feels like it’s losing one of their own."
The controversy, though, was reawakened in July by the release of the November-slated film’s trailer.
On this episode of The Stream we discuss how experience and privilege relate to black identity.
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