After months of press–both good and bad–Nate Parker’s highly anticipated film The Birth of A Nation hits theaters today. (Oct. 7) Parker plays Nat Turner, a literate slave tasked to use Christianity to preach to other slaves about the importance of obedience before planning and executing an uprising that lasted 48 hours. The slave revolt resulted in the deaths of about 65 white men, women and children.
The independent film would later be hailed as monumental, and receive a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival. Fox Searchlight loved the work so much, the company would later purchase it for a record breaking $17.5 million. Yet despite all the movie’s initial success, Parker’s 1999 rape accusation and acquittal has been a constant cloud over the film.
While at the Toronto Film Festival, Parker, 36, spoke with Vibe about exposing the trauma of racism and how it affects everyone, and why, despite the sexual assault allegations people should still see this film.