A film about a slave rebellion written, produced and directed by a Black filmmaker, who also stars as the patriotic protagonist, sold for a record-breaking $17.5 million at Sundance, thanks to a Black woman’s hashtag activism stimulating the conversation about erasure and misrepresentation at one of the world’s most prestigious award ceremonies. Major moment for Black history and the arts.


via Shadow and Act: First Look at Nate Parker’s Nat Turner Film, ‘The Birth of a Nation

By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

Here’s a first look at official images from Nate Parker’s much anticipated “The Birth of a Nation,” which the actor wrote, directed and also starred in, playing Nat Turner.

The official synopsis reads: Set against the antebellum South, this story follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.

Joining Parker in front of the camera are Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Mark Boone Jr.

The film is making its World Premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival as I announced in the post just before this one.

It’s certainly a film that’s high on my list of 2016 films to see!

No trailer yet, but these stills (above and below) should hold you over until then.


August 21st 1831: Nat Turner’s rebellion begins

On this day in 1831 the Virginian slave Nat Turner began the deadliest slave rebellion the United States had ever seen, which resulted in the deaths of 55 whites. Turner, a slave preacher, had come to believe that God intended for him to lead a black uprising against the injustice of slavery. In the evening of August 21st 1831, Turner and his co-conspirators met in the woods to make their plans and early the next morning began the rebellion by killing Turner’s master’s family. Turner and his men, who soon numbered over 80, then went from house to house assaulting the white inhabitants. Eventually a local militia, and then federal and state troops, confronted the rebels and dispersed the group. Turner himself initially evaded capture but was captured on October 30th. Subsequently Turner, along with over fifty other rebels, was executed. However the retribution for Nat Turner’s rebellion did not end there. The uprising sent shockwaves across the South, and while full scale rebellion such as Turner’s was rare in the Deep South due to the rigid enforcement of the slave system, caused widespread fear of another rebellion. In the ensuing hysteria over 200 innocent black slaves were killed by white mobs. Turner’s rebellion came close to ending slavery in Virginia, as in its wake the state legislature considered abolishing the ‘peculiar institution’. However the measure was voted down and instead the state decided to increase plantation discipline and limit slaves’ autonomy even further by banning them from acting as preachers and learning to read. Similar measures were adopted across the slave-holding South and thus Nat Turner’s rebellion increased the South’s commitment to slavery, despite undermining the pro-slavery argument that it was a benevolent system and slaves were content. Turner has left behind a complicated legacy, with some seeing him as an African-American hero and others as a religious fanatic and villain; his memory raises the eternal question of whether violence is justified to bring about necessary change.

Today in History: 13 August 1831 - Nat Turner interpreted a solar eclipse on that day as a sign to begin his planned rebellion

“Born into slavery on October 2, 1800, in Southampton County, Virginia, his name was recorded as “Nat” by his master Benjamin Turner, and when Benjamin Turner died in 1810 Nat became the property of Benjamin’s brother Samuel Turner"

“Turner spent his life in Southampton County, Virginia, a plantation area where enslaved laborers were the majority of the population. He was identified as having “natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension, surpassed by few.” He learned to read and write at a young age.”

“Deeply religious, Nat was often seen fasting, praying, or immersed in reading the stories of the Bible.”

“Turner’s religious convictions manifested as frequent visions which he interpreted as messages from God. Turner’s belief in the visions was such that when Turner was 22 years old he ran away from his owner but returned a month later after receiving a spiritual revelation. Turner often conducted Baptist services, preaching the Bible to his fellow slaves who dubbed him “The Prophet”. Turner garnered white followers such as Ethelred T. Brantley, who Turner was credited with having convinced to “cease from his wickedness”.”

“Turner was proclaimed as a prophet by his fellow black slaves on the plantation. In early 1828, Turner was convinced that he “was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty.” While working in his owner’s fields on May 12, Turner

“heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.”

“He was convinced that God had given him the task of “slay[ing] my enemies with their own weapons.” Turner said, “I communicated the great work laid out for me to do, to four in whom I had the greatest confidence” – his fellow slaves Henry, Hark, Nelson, and Sam.”

“On February 11, 1831, an annular solar eclipse was seen in Virginia and Turner envisioned this as a black man’s hand reaching over the sun. He initially planned the rebellion to begin on July 4, Independence Day. Turner postponed it because of illness and to use the delay for additional planning and deliberation with his co-conspirators.”

“On August 13 there was another solar eclipse in which the sun appeared bluish-green, possibly the result of lingering atmospheric debris from an eruption of Mount St. Helens. Turner interpreted this as the final signal, and about a week later, on August 21, he began the uprising.”

Nat Turner (Wikipedia)

January 26, 1944: Birthday of Comrade Angela Yvonne Davis, former political prisoner, Marxist-feminist theorist and prison abolition activist.

I wish Angela Davis a great birthday. She has been a major inspiration in my life and has done incredible work on so many issues. I still hope she will say something about the way her good name was exploited by Mayor Bill de Blasio, killer cop Bill Bratton and the New York Democratic establishment at last week’s Martin Luther King Day event in Brooklyn: http://bknation.org/2014/01/letter-angela-davis/


On today in 1831 Nat Turner led a violent slave rebellion that resulted in the deaths of at least 55 people, the most of any other slave rebellion leading up to the Civil War.

“And my father and mother strengthened me in this my first impression, saying in my presence, I was intended for some great purpose, which they had always thought from certain marks on my head and breast.” – Nat Turner

CultureCINEMA: “The Birth Of A Nation” (2016)

“Resistance lives in the air. #NatTurnerIsComing” - Aja Naomi King, Twitter 

Hell yes. And Pro-tip: Read up on Nat Turner and then reflect on a black man, Nate Parker, writing and directing this powerful story of resistance and why the title matters. Do that before reflexively calling it ‘just another slave movie’. 

Photo (Cast): Gabrielle Union, Aja Naomi King, Armie Hammer, Nate Parker, Penelope Ann MIller and Jackie Earle Haley. 

           The Birth of A Nation – The Nat Turner Movie

A first look at images from Nate Parker’s long awaited ‘The Birth of a Nation” have arrived. Nat Parker wrote, directed and is staring in the pivotal role.

The official synopsis reads: Set against the antebellum South, this story follows Nat Turner, a literate slave preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.

Along side Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union and Mark Boone, Jr are cast members.

The World Premiere for this film will be at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Are you ready? I am!!!

Thank you Nate Parker!



We later learned that the film will be called “The Birth of a Nation” (I can only guess as a reaction/response to D.W. Griffith’s incendiary 1915 film of the same title). And what makes the project’s completion even more likely is that it was the recipient of a fellowship with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program last year, and has now drawn the attachment of production companies Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures, Tiny Giant Prods., Follow Through Prods., Infinity Entertainment and Creative Wealth Media Finance.

Nate Parker is also producing via his Bron Entertainment shingle, along with Aaron L. Gilbert, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman and Preston Holmes.

David Goyer is also among the film’s executive producers.

We can now add that Aja Naomi King (“How to Get Away With Murder”), Aunjanue Ellis, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union and Arnie Hammer have all joined the film’s cast. No word yet on what roles each actor will play, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out!

Parker, as we already know, will play Nat Turner. He'l also direct the film from his own script with shooting now set to begin next month, in Savannah, Ga.[source]