Nate Parker Responds To ‘American Skin’ Backlash
Nate Parker’s newest film “American Skin,” has garnered mixed reviews, and Parker is speaking out about it. The film was shown at the Venice Film Festival recently and is making its rounds.
“American Skin” tells the story of Lincoln Jefferson, a U.S. Marine veteran who works as a janitor at a junior high school. His world is turned upside down after his son is shot by a police officer in front of him during a routine traffic stop. The officer is freed without trial, and Jefferson steps in to get justice for his son.
The film is set for its French premiere Monday (Sept. 9). Parker addressed the criticism while at the Deauville Film Festival. He said he doesn’t
“care what people say about me, what they think about me…I made this film for people to see it.”
He added that he considers the movie a “call for action” for the U.S.
He also reportedly got teary-eyed when he was asked if he thought the film would get better reviews in Europe.
“My only job is reflect society. Sometimes that reflection isn’t an image people want to see, but I’m an artist so I try to stay away….I’m not here to make a headline.”
He spoke on the state of the nation and said,
“[We] have a long way to go with racism, and a long way with sexism and gender inequality and xenophobia, and we realize this everyday when we look up at the news. I don’t have all the answers. I’m an imperfect man. I’m just trying to use my art as a platform to add a little to the conversation.”
Parker added that Spike Lee, who has been helping Parker promote the film, is certainly a fan.
“He said, ‘Thirty years ago I made a film, ‘Do the Right Thing,’ and it was based on a real person [Michael Stewart] who was choked by the police, and it paid homage to that and put a spotlight on that in my film. Thirty years later I watch this film that’s asking us to deal [with] racism and police violence in America.”
The movie is also Parker’s first in his return to Hollywood. He took a hiatus after accusations that he sexually assaulted a woman, causing her to take her own life, resurfaced in 2016.
Parker initially refused to apologize for the 1999 incident and noted that he was freed of all charges. Still, as of late Parker has had a change of heart.
“The last 3 years have been such a learning experience for me. The reality is that three years ago I was absolutely tone deaf to the realities of certain situations that were happening in the climate…There were a lot of people that were hurt by the way I responded and how I approached things and I apologize to those people. It has been a journey. I feel very blessed to be here. To be at the Venice film festival with a film I believe so desperately in.”
What do you think about Nate Parker’s reaction to the critics? Tell us in the comments.