Al Sharpton on Nate Parker: Hollywood Trying to ‘Smear the Messenger’Rev. Al has a good point there. I admire his persistent and witty criticism of gangsta rap.
In an interview with The Root, Sharpton speaks out in defense of actor-director Nate Parker and his film The Birth of a Nation.
BY: JAMAL WATSON Posted: August 20, 2016
The Rev. Al Sharpton has pledged not to let Hollywood “discredit” and block actor Nate Parker’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 national 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 recent weeks, Parker has been subjected to a firestorm of criticism around the fact that while a wrestling student at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, he and a friend, Jean McGianni Celestin, were charged with raping a female student.
Parker was acquitted of the charges, and Celestin—who collaborated with him on the writing of the film—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 when a judge determined that he had received ineffective counsel in the first trial and prosecutors declined to try the case again. The woman, who was ready to testify at the second trial, reportedly committed suicide in 2012.
… Sharpton said he believes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the right-wing media are trying to use the incident to prevent a historical narrative about slave resistance from being shown in movie theaters.
“Now, all of a sudden, they rediscover what they already knew,” said Sharpton, who has been a fierce critic of the academy, even leading 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 last week—admitted that he had made some mistakes in the aftermath of the court proceedings, but he has maintained that the sexual relationship with the woman was consensual. …
Sharpton blasted the academy for selecting “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” as the best original song in 2006 and awarding it an Oscar
On the other hand, much of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite hubbub was about not enough Oscar nominations for the gangsta rap biopic Straight Outta Compton. Suge Knight was invited to do a cameo, but he wound up killing a man near the set, an incident that may have soured Oscar voters on the film.
and said that he remains deeply concerned that films that depict positive aspects of black culture and history are routinely dismissed.[Comment at Unz.com]
… Sharpton said that he has put the academy on notice and will continue to monitor the theater openings of the film across the country.
“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.”