will packer (black hat)

*Film and TV super producer Will Packer and his wife Heather hosted an intimate screening of Nate Parker’s award-winning film, “The Birth of a Nation” at their Atlanta home. The celebrity guests included: Big Boi of Outkast, Ludacris, LeToya Luckett, Michael Ealy, Naturi Naughton, Chaka Zulu, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, Rob Hardy, Ambassador Andrew Young, and many more.

Essence.com reports that the stars munched on candy and popcorn, and Packer and his wife introduced the film after a brief moment of silence for the recently slain victims in Orlando, Florida.

“There’s a misconception that stories like the one you are about to see have been told so much, over and over again, and that there’s a saturation about movies of this kind,” said Packer. “That actually is not the case. There are a lot of stories that haven’t been told yet.”

Parker’s film is an adaptation of the life of Nat Turner—a Virginia preacher who rebelled against his master in 1831. “When he says birth of a nation, that’s the suffering and sacrifice of blood of which we’ve come,” Ambassador Andrew Young said of the movie after the screening. “The struggle has to continue.”

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Rapper and actor Ludacris also shared his feelings on the film. “We have to know our history in order to know where we’re going, and that’s the general consensus,” he said.

“I absolutely, positively did not know he was a preacher,” added rapper Big Boi. “He was a man of God, first, and just to see his transformation to what he became…it’s just mind-blowing.”

Michael Ealy was reportedly nearly in tears following the screening. “They had no idea what good looked like for Black folks; we at least know that now,” he said. “To fight back, you almost look at that now like ‘Yeah, I would’ve done the same thing,’ but you probably wouldn’t have. You would’ve been a part of the status quo, and that’s why people like Nat Turner’s story needs to be told.”

Packer, who is the executive producer of “Roots” remake, is now working on a film about a group of women traveling to the ESSENCE Festival.

“He was a man of God; he was a Christian; he was a preacher,” Will said of Nat Turner. “He was powerful. He had a powerful voice, and he used it to uplift the people at a time where nobody was uplifted. He was a singular voice uplifting at a time where no one was.”