Who owns the icon?
When you’re a “public” figure, an activist, an “icon,” does your (life) story belong to you?
The danger of fetishising and iconising other people’s struggles is that it can have the effect of displacing the “icon” from their own story. How can you claim to respect someone and their struggles and then actively displace them from the telling or participating in the re-telling of their own stories? Because so much of “the icon’s” life is public, some people think their (life) story belongs to the public and therefore they can do as they wish with it, including profit from it. Case in point, Winnie Mandela. A biography was written about her by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob, who then sold the movie rights to Hollywood. The movie was made, filmed in South Africa no less, with the explicit rejection of Winnie Mandela, the living breathing person whose struggles are being portrayed. This is insult and disrespect of the highest order and it is far too common!