Actress Gabrielle Union took a powerful stance for sexual violence education in a Los Angeles Times op-ed titled "I cannot take Nate Parker rape allegations lightly." As a real-life rape survivor, Gabrielle wanted to shed light on sexual assault by playing a slave woman who is the victim of rape in The Birth of a Nation. But her complex essay prompts the question: given Nate Parker's history, should Gabrielle reject or promote the film? Scroll to read the perspectives and vote!
In the op-ed, Gabrielle wrote, "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."
On one hand, Gabrielle is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence. But she's in solidarity with women, particularly Black women, who have faced or might face sexual assault. And since she's not taking light of the allegations against Nate, it's all the more reason why she should stand in solidarity with those who are rallying against the film.
Gabby took the role to raise awareness about sexual violence. And she can still do that! She can use the art to educate people about affirmative consent, and address both misogyny and toxic masculinity.