A few months later, “The Birth of a Nation” doesn’t appear to have been the success many were predicting throughout the year. Gabrielle Union, who has a nonspeaking role in Nate Parker’s film, says in a new Harper’s Bazaar interview that she feels as though she and the other female stars “all got thrown out” along with Parker after a 1999 rape trial involving the writer/director/star became widely known over the summer.
Union finds this especially unfortunate, as she was hoping to use the film’s press tour as an opportunity to say “all the things that I’ve wanted to say…to the biggest audience I was ever going to get to listen to me talk about sexual assault.” Union, who is herself a rape survivor, plays a slave who gets raped in “The Birth of a Nation.”
That, she says, is a large part of why she came onboard the project in the first place: “This is something we all signed up for with this very specific goal. Black liberation. Black resistance from the perspective of a sexual-assault survivor. And we don’t even get to talk about that.”
Union also points out the ways in which this sets her apart from the likes of Lena Dunham, Kate Upton and Amy Schumer, whose “white girl privilege” allows them to say “careless, insensitive and offensive things.” Read her full interview here.