Gabrielle Union held nothing back while speaking with Vibe about the importance of her latest role in Nate Parker’s Birth of A Nation.
The Being Mary Jane actress along with her on-screen husband Colman Domingo were on hand at the Toronto Film Festival to discuss the importance of the film, and how sexual violence was used as a tool to destroy the black family.
“I took the film to talk about sexual violence,” Union, who is a rape survivor said. “I took the film to talk about sexual violence as it’s been used historically as a weapon of mass destruction that destroys the psyche and soul of our community, and it just seems ass backwards to distance myself from a film that creates and gives me the platform to talk about sexual violence.”
Union, who’s been vocal about her own rape, admitted she’s had countless conversations about sexual assault with Parker, who plays Nat Turner in the film and took it upon herself to counsel him on the subject.
“I’m not going to leave that man in the same way I found him,” Union said. “I have to educate him. He’s raising five girls, I have to educate him.”
Birth of A Nation centers around Nat Turner, a literate slave who leads a 48 hour rebellion in Virginia, which resulted in the deaths of about 65 white men and women. While the film brings to life a widely unknown story, it’s been clouded by Parker’s 1999 rape conviction as a college student at Penn State.
Domingo said the cast took this film knowing and understanding it would spark necessary but uncomfortable conversation.
“We took this film because we knew we were going to be on the front lines from the very beginning of this conversation about race,” Domingo said. “All these complex, dark, deep conversations, ugly conversations that you don’t want to have.”
Check out Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo shed light on Birth of Nation below.