What’s good , Medium? Nate Parker edition

10/12/2016

Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was a box office flop, falling just between children’s movies Storks and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.

While some might think Parker’s own behavior could be to blame, Special Cloth points the finger squarely at social media and “the unrepentant pettiness of Black Feminists”:

It wasn’t enough for both black women oriented and white media platforms to have a field day with “propaganda pieces” disguised as think pieces with rumors and a former court case, they decided to head over to the Internet Movie Database “knuck if you buck” together and plunge the ratings BEFORE the film’s release.
Petty.
Petty.
Petty.
It would be one thing if we destroyed to rebuild but, all we do is destroy and social media amplifies this cycle, especially with black women.
And to Black women…
We are petty, we are insecure, we are destructive, we have more social and political power than our male counterparts than we’d like to acknowledge and we need to use it better.

Biba Adams disagrees. Here’s her must-read response:

Bihhhh, if you don’t shut the entire fuck up.
I wasn’t going to respond, but the piece was so awful and then was being shared all over my Facebook timeline with men putting clapping hands emoji’s like, “Finally! Finally, one of y’all told the truth! #WellWritten.” One of my heroes, the gawd Kris Ex said that he wasn’t responding to it because it wasn’t his fight. It was a case where a chick needed to be checked but only another chick could do it.
I’m that chick. I’m the chin-checking chick.
Sis, I don’t know what motivated you to write this mess. I really don’t. I can only assume it was your desire to get your PayPal popping, and I hope for your sake that it popped, because you have effectively shot yourself in the foot. There is not one decent writer that I know who respected what you wrote, it was ridiculous and an insult to not just black feminists, but black women in general and you should be ashamed of yourself. I can only assume that you don’t know what feminism or womanism is, so here comes the lesson.

Here’s my tongue in cheek contribution to the debate:

When I heard the news that Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was a giant flop with both critics and the box office, I laughed heartily to myself while I lovingly stroked my copy of This Bridge Called My Back that I keep next to my jar of male tears. I’m so thrilled to have another win under our belt.
Parker’s film was panned for being rife with historical inaccuracies and for wrongly portraying Black women as docile creatures lacking in agency.
If people only knew all the scheming it took for us Black feminists to build a time machine, use it to Inception our way into Nate Parker’s thoughts, and force him to sabotage his own film though shitty screenwriting, they’d be in awe of the power we wield. Yes, we’re really that good.

Meanwhile Jameelah Jones compiled a handy list of Black films to watch instead of Birth of a Nation:

I’m not seeing Birth of a Nation. Not only are wartime movies of any kind too much for my psyche, I am unwilling to pay money to see a movie championed by two Black men accused of sexual assault, one of whom remains arrogantly unapologetic and entitled to the support of Black folks. I am unwilling to do that. That is my choice. In fact, it seems we all love to talk about the freedom to choose, until we talk about Black women’sautonomy, but I’ll write about that another time.
The holdouts for Nate Parker’s film have made it clear that they are doing so because of the importance of the stories of African American history being told on the big screen. While this is an important principle to hold, there have already been reviews of the film describing the historical accuracy it lacks and how it does Black women a disservice.

Terrance Thomas chimes in with an honest exploration of what it means to watch Birth of a Nation fail as a Black man:

I had to examine myself. I had to ask myself why I felt the primitive need to protect Nate and his past transgressions. Why was I so emotionally invested? Is ‘The Birth of a Nation’ really that important? I realized that my immediate instinct to “preserve blackness” was not only emotionally exhausting, it was also problematic as fuck.