Film / TV

IS CYNTHIA ERIVO THE WRONG PERSON TO PLAY HARRIET TUBMAN?

July 30, 2019
5.4K Picks

It takes something major for me to not support a Black woman who is one step away from earning an EGOT. And this is kinda major. 

When news broke that Nigerian-British actress Cynthia Erivo would play Harriet Tubman in the upcoming biopic, many of us were excited. Erivo is a beautiful actress, known primarily for theater, more specifically her incredible work in The Color Purple on Broadway. There is no denying that Erivo is a talent. Unfortunately, it appears that she has a bias against Black Americans, leaving us to question why she should be allowed the privilege of playing African-American abolitionist heroine Harriet Tubman.

Erivo has a history of publicly dismissing the African-American experience that does not sit well with the community.

Though at times she has publicly mocked this group laughing at the “ghetto accents,” often she judges quietly with small complaints or the refusal to acknowledge the perspective of the modern-day African American person. Intentionally or not, she gaslights her critics when she’s called out on it, claiming a narrative is being made up although there are receipts online. She also is known to blindly support her good friend Luvvie even in all her anti-African American rhetoric which comes as a betrayal to the African American community. The community is not saying Erivo should be banished forever, they are saying that there is no reason she should represent one of America’s greatest icons when she doesn’t even respect Tubman’s descendants.

Erivo’s apparent distaste for African-Americans is contradictory to an acting career built on playing Black American women like The Color Purple’s Celie. And it is an African-American role that could get her the O in EGOT. While Erivo is an advocate and celebrator of many Black experiences, always championing Africans, she not only neglects but puts down African Americans. As an African, an American, and a human, I find this unacceptable.

Erivo needs to do better. She refuses to admit or honestly acknowledge her bias which comes as a blow to those she insults. There is always room for redemption but first, you must acknowledge your prejudice which Eviro has yet to. I hope that she can wake up and learn to respect and earn the forgiveness of the African American community.

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