Art as Protest: Nate Parker's 'Birth of a Nation' Trailer is Here

After stunning the crowds and critics at Sundance, winning The Grand Jury Prize and Audience award, and garnering a record breaking $17.5 million deal from Fox Searchlight, Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation has had folks like myself eagerly awaiting a trailer. It's the story of Nat Turner's uprising in Virginia before the Civil War, a story that Nate himself said he wanted to tell, to #ReclaimTheNarrative around the history of slavery in this country.

Credit: JAHI CHIKWENDIU

Credit: JAHI CHIKWENDIU

The first teaser trailer was released today and...well...intense is an understatement. It instantly had me as Nina Simone's cover of  "Strange Fruit" plays over and in the background of the scenes. Take a look...

I'm sitting here with chills. Initially I wasn't sure if I wanted to see another movie about slavery and Black pain...but when I realized who did the writing and directing...and that it was coming from our perspective, I decided that yes, this is a movie I need to see. I'm all for #ReclaimingTheNarrative and for those of us in the margins having the means to tell our histories-silent and otherwise-free of White washing and concern for White comfort. I'm grateful to artists like Nate who are using their art to challenge, uplift, and foster dialogue around critical issues of injustice.  

 “I made this film for one reason, with the hope of creating change agents. That people can watch this film and be affected,” he said. “That you can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people and the legacy of that still lives with us. I just want you, if you are affected and you are so moved, to ask yourself, ‘Are there systems in my life that need attention whether it be racial, gender?’ There are a lot of injustices.”-Nate Parker

 Birth of a Nation is set for release in October of this year.