Controversy has risen while the 2016 lm Birth of a Nation has made its way to theaters across the country.
This controversy involves a rape that occurred in 1999.
Rape is a vile and deplorable assault that destroys and violates women each year.
Nate Parker and Jean Celestin were accused of raping a woman in 1999 while at Penn State.
Parker was acquitted and Celestin realized a successful appeal and no further trial was ever brought forward.
Discrepancies in testimonies from Parker, Celestin and Tamerlane Kangas, a third man that was at the restaurant with Parker and Celestin and in the apartment made it hard for me to completely absolve Parker and Celestin from any accountability despite the acquittal and the appeal; however, the juries from the cases have spoken.
In the Parker and Celestin lm, a violent rape scene occurs and there is scrutiny centered on this and the events that happened back in 1999.
The historical accuracy of such an act against female slaves was common.
In a lm that is already addressing sensitive issues of race and slavery should the vile act of rape, relevant to the time period be omitted?
In 2011 the Women’s Law Project brought forth a civil suit claiming Penn State’s discipline for Parker and Celestin was too lenient and did little to prevent them harassing the woman after the incident. A $17,500 settlement was reached. I think with everything surrounding this case, Parker and Celestin including a violent rape scene in the lm was bad form.
Even if it is seen as historically accurate, I think old wounds have been opened for not only the family but the school and for everyone involved directly and indirectly with the horrible events that happened in 1999.
Historical accuracy is important within historical lms, but a violent rape shouldn’t appear in said lm when the people directly involved with it, accountable or not, have controversy in their lives associated with rape.
Stories of revolt, emancipation, and the ugly history of slavery need to be told with fresh perspectives by people of color, but maybe when rape is too close to home, maybe nd another way to address it in the lm.