‘Harriet’ Tubman Film Gets Backlash Over Black British Actress Cynthia Erivo Playing Lead, Critics Threaten Boycott
While the Harriet trailer received lots of support and love after being released this week, it was also met with lots of criticism over the lead actress, Cynthia Erivo, playing the lead role.
Critics expressed their issue with Erivo, who is a Black British actress, playing the role of Harriet Tubman in the highly-anticipated film, instead of an African-American actress who is an American descendant of slavery (ADOS).
Some even pulled old tweets from 2013 of her mocking what she called a “ghetto American accent.”
Fans used the hashtags #HarrietDeservesBetter and #BoycottHarriet to spread their message against the movie.
Yea not going to see this she’s not African American she doesn’t understand black & she makes fun American Black women…. my is black & American this movie means something to us … she’s trash #BoycottHarriet pic.twitter.com/BZUH7fAIzc
— Trig Lyon (@Treslyon) July 24, 2019
#CynthiaErivo should have never been given the role of #HarrietTubman.She disrespected #ADOS Lineage/Culture/History-#AmericanHistory.Disgusting,someone who hates us get play us.#Harriet #LineageMatters–#HarrietDeservesBetter #BoycottHarriet https://t.co/7OmLc98sYN #HarrietFilm
— Glen Lucien (@glenthecreator) July 23, 2019
Erivo has been getting backlash since it was announced she secured the role in February 2017. She said last September,
“I struggled a little with whether or not to post anything about this role, because even though there is so much celebration and encouragement coming through, there’s also anger and offense spurred on by my being from the UK…..I guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was. That can not be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly. ”
“Nothing has been given to me without me first putting the work in, people speak of foreign privilege and truthfully life would be unbelievably easy if that were applied to me but that is not my portion. I fought for the role of Celie, and spilled blood sweat and tears playing her, the same applies for every role I’ve earned, this will be no different.”
“I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story. I posted this because I cannot allow people to make me neglect to celebrate this honor.”
“This story has gone unnoted for long enough and @debramchaseDaniela Taplin and @focusfeatures are the perfect home the beautiful way. Kasi Lemmons has told this story is more than a blessing. I am glad to be given the opportunity to bring the life of Harriet Tubman to you. I would be lying if I didn’t make it clear that this is scary, and I thank you in advance for the support. Love you much. ALL OF YOU! Yours truly…”
What do you think on critics’ plans to boycott the movie? Tell us in the comments!