*Reverend Al Sharpton has no problem supporting Nate Parker who was cleared of rape charges and he wants you to also pledge not to let Hollywood “discredit” and block the actor/director’s plans to release his upcoming film “The Birth of a Nation,” which tells the story of an 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner.
The movie — which won praise from critics after its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January — had been mentioned as an early contender for the Oscars. But in light of his decades old rape case being unearthed, the film may be completely overlooked come awards season.
And it’s not that Hollywood doesn’t support and excuse men who allegedly rape: Woody Allen, Roman Polanski — Nate is black, so he’s not entitled to the same type of “male privilege” that his white colleagues benefit from, most especially because his alleged rape victim was a white woman.
Many believe if Nate was accused of raping a black woman, no one would make a fuss. Matter fact, they’d roll out the red carpet for the dude. After all, Chris Brown and R. Kelly’s careers have not suffered after they violated the bodies of black women.
Luckily for Nate, he has the support from those in the black community who will celebrate ANYTHING black males do, no matter how nefarious in nature.
To recap: Parker was a wrestler at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, when he and a friend, Jean McGianni Celestin, were charged with raping a female student.
Parker was acquitted of the charges, and Celestin—who co-wrote the film with him —was initially found guilty and sentenced to six-to-12 months in county prison. He later appealed the conviction and the second trial was dismissed. Their victim, who was ready to testify at the second trial, reportedly committed suicide in 2012.
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While speaking to activists and supporters at the Harlem headquarters of National Action Network, the civil rights group that he founded in 1991, Sharpton said he believes the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with the right-wing media, are trying to destroy Nate.
Parker, who reportedly told his victim that she brought the “rape” on herself (Google the transcripts and read it for yourself), recently posted an apology regarding his actions and involvement in the crime, but many felt his statement was cocky and insincere.
“Now all of a sudden, they rediscover what they already knew,” said Sharpton, who led a boycott of the Oscars last February for its lack of diversity in Hollywood. “The way you kill the message is you try to smear the messenger.”
In an interview with The Root, Sharpton said that Parker—whom he spoke with by phone recently—admitted that he had made some mistakes in the aftermath of the court proceedings, but has maintained that the sexual relationship with the woman was consensual.
“Nobody is justifying wrong, but if you go to court, charge somebody with the crime and the courts in Pennsylvania in 1999 find you not guilty, you can’t have it both ways,” Sharpton said, adding that he understands the many concerns that black women have raised about the allegations.
“All I want to know is what is the standard? Is the standard now that you can take an almost two decade acquittal and beat him down and deny him the Oscars, but it’s alright for others who’ve done crazy stuff to be Oscar material? I just want to know what is the standard?,” he said.
Sharpton and actor Anthony Anderson are just a few celebrities who are willing to publicly embrace Parker, while many celebrities have publicly distanced themselves from the 36-year-old actor-director-producer.
Sharpton said that he will continue to monitor the theater openings of the film, as he makes media rounds to put Hollywood on blast.
“Somebody has to have enough courage to tell the truth no matter what the consequences are,” said Sharpton, who called Parker’s attempt to “flip” the original “Birth of a Nation” movie that glorified the Ku Klux Klan into a story about Nat Turner “bold and audacious.”
Interesting to note that in the original “Birth of a Nation” film, white actors don blackface to act like sex-craved black males who rape white women. Ha!
“All these millions of dollars these folks get paid, and they won’t tell our story,” Sharpton said. “All these elaborate homes they build, and they won’t tell our story. And here comes a man with a wife and five children who puts it all on the line and you think I’m going to be quiet? We are going to stand up and tell our story.”
Do you plan to give Parker and his accused rape accomplish Celestin your money when the film is released? Let us know in the comments below.