Oh hell yes, we finally have a trailer out for the upcoming movie about Nat Turner, The Birth of a Nation. I’ve said it before, if they do this film right, it is going to blow people’s minds because they are not going to know exactly how to feel. Oh, and how about the trailer’s use of a new version of “Strange Fruit?” (A 1930s protest song against lynchings that was first recorded and made famous by Billie Holiday). The title of the movie is a provocative reuse of the title of DW. Griffith’s infamous 1915 movie that sparked a revival of the Klan and lynching in the 1920s and 30s, and now we get this trailer that uses a song that was a reaction to those lynchings. Brilliant. Man, has pop culture been hammering away at the Lost Cause lately, or what??
And speaking of pop cultural blows on the Lost Cause, The Journal of the Civil War Era’s blog today features a fantastic interview with Professor Kellie Carter Jackson and Professor Erica L. Ball about the upcoming remake of Roots and the original series. I couldn’t agree more with pretty much everything they say here, especially when Jackson discusses recent shows like Mercy Street, Underground, and the upcoming Birth of a Nation. “There are many stories to be told [about slavery],” she writes, “stories that involve pain, loss, and violence, but also stories that emphasize resistance, humanity, survival, love, and if done right, even laughter.” AMEN!! (On a self-serving side note, I am probably going to be writing an essay with a review and my own thoughts about the original Roots series, so please stay tuned for that in the coming weeks).