Gabrielle Union is a rape survivor and she pens an essay about her decision to play a sexually assaulted slave in Nate Parker’s biopic, Birth of a Nation. The actress said, the rape debate swirling around director, Nate Parker left her in a state of “stomach churning confusion.”
Union explains in an LA Times Op-Ed how she was raped at gunpoint in a shoe store and that she can not take Nate Parker’s rape allegations lightly.
“I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated.“
Union has said her character’s silence in Birth of a Nation character’s was a deliberate choice that she had pushed for. “It’s just more symbolic of the lack of control or power that black women had, and have, over our own bodies,” Union told Vulture at the film’s rapturous premiere at Sundance. “As a rape survivor, I know how powerful and voiceless I felt myself for a very, very long time, and the shame and the rage.”
Twenty-four years ago I was raped at gunpoint in the cold, dark backroom of the Payless shoe store where I was then working. Two years ago I signed on to a brilliant script called “The Birth of a Nation,” to play a woman who was raped. One month ago I was sent a story about Nate Parker, the very talented writer, director and star of this film. Seventeen years ago Nate Parker was accused and acquitted of sexual assault. Four years ago the woman who accused him committed suicide.
Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular. I knew I could walk out of our movie and speak to the audience about what it feels like to be a survivor. Read the entire essay here…
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