The “woke” #ADOS [American Descendants of Slaves] crowd is upset that Harriet Tubman is being portrayed by British actress Cynthia Erivo.
Hollywood has a long history of casting British actors in American roles.
While that sometimes draws some criticism—like Daniel Day Lewis’ playing Abraham Lincoln—the extent that the “woke” #ADOS crowd is threatening to boycott the biopic of Harriet Tubman—a freed slave who helped lead others out of slavery—due to the casting of British actress Cynthia Erivo‘s playing the lead role.
Here are the three reasons why the #ADOS crowd is upset about Erivo playing the part:
1. Erivo is not an an American descendent of a slave [#ADOS].
#ados should not support this film. It is my position a #ados should have been casted. In addition it has not been established which Igbo subtribe Erivo is from and that needs to be made clear. Is Erivo Igbo “Dialia”, and thus from a slave trading lineage? We would like answers. https://t.co/XlWeJfBpyB
— Antonio Moore (@tonetalks) July 23, 2019
— 🇺🇸🌴Electric Bo Peep🌴🇺🇸 (@eBoPeep) July 23, 2019
This has gotten out of hand. I'm sick and tired of non #ADOS stealing our culture all the while having such a disdain for my people.I waiting for the day for my people to wake up and it's on sight for anyone and I do mean anyone who disrespects us.
— ERIC ADOS (@BrainsandBrawn) July 24, 2019
Looks like a Nigerian lady running through the woods in fear. Wonder why the director didn’t have the lady tap into the emotions of the ancestors to more effectively convey Tubman’s fearlessness, cadence and emotions? Oh yeah lady sees us as Akatas.
— 🇺🇸MotherWitDisclosd🇺🇸 (@VioletsBlooming) July 25, 2019
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
I won’t be watching
You should have casted an American Descendant of Slavery
Not a black Brit!
— SamanthaAngeliq🇺🇸 Lets try this again (@SamanthaAngeliq) July 23, 2019
2. Cynthia Erivo ‘disrespected’ the “descendants of Harriet Tubman”
No. You don't. And it's because you are so disrespectful and hateful of American descendants of slaves. You defended a friend who was mocking of American slavery (Yugi, I mean Luvvi). You're disgusting & so is she. U won't get a view or a dollar from me. #HarrietDeservesBetter
— $tr8Skullduggery (@41Soulsistah) July 24, 2019
— Sir 🇺🇸 (@Nurdogg) July 27, 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
#Harriet deserves better than the likes of the hateful, anti-black and ignorant @CynthiaEriVo who disrespects American descendants of slaves and our culture & who picks a diff identity based on the conversation at hand. #BoycottHarrietTubman #HarrietDeservesBetter
— $tr8Skullduggery (@41Soulsistah) July 24, 2019
Nope! The lead actress mocks and disrespect african Americans and our culture! We will #BoycottHarriet
No way can we support a Nigerian/British black woman who disrespect AA/ADOS culture playing one our beloved ICONS! pic.twitter.com/NlCdFaytIM
— Jesse B. Veal III (@TheJesseVeal) July 25, 2019
We Akatas don’t appreciate a woman that insults our culture, our history and our uniqueness try to bull crap us to get some butta biscuits from your white colonial masters! #BoycottHarriet #ados #akata
— Neo’s Black Brother (@WillAshburn) July 24, 2019
3. Erivo’s ancestors MAY have come from the Nigerian slave-owning ‘dialas’.
Although there is no proof that Cynthia Erivo’s ancestors owned slaves, to understand this, one must refer to a recent article in the New Yorker, which explains:
Slavery existed among the Igbo long before colonization, but it accelerated in the sixteenth century, when the transatlantic trade began and demand for slaves increased. Under slavery, Igbo society was divided into three main categories: diala, ohu, and osu. The diala were the freeborn, and enjoyed full status as members of the human race. The ohu were taken as captives from distant communities or else enslaved in payment of debts or as punishment for crimes; the diala kept them as domestic servants, sold them to white merchants, and occasionally sacrificed them in religious ceremonies or buried them alive at their masters’ funerals. (A popular Igbo proverb goes, “A slave who looks on while a fellow-slave is tied up and thrown into the grave should realize that it could also be his turn someday.”) The osu were slaves owned by traditional deities.
While London-born Eviro is of Nigerian descent, #ADOS founders demand to know if she is of diala or of osu heritage.
During an interview earlier this year, the film’s director, Kasi Lemmons, stated she understood the backlash in casting Evrio as the iconic Tubman.
“I understand it,” Lemmons told Shadow And Act. “I certainly understand and respect the conversation. But I think I could tell you, her work was so sincere and true that, almost, you have to see the movie. You know what I mean? For me, I’m looking at a woman with recent ancestors from West Africa playing a woman with recent ancestors from West Africa, who is tiny, who is mighty, who can sing as Harriet did. And acts her face off. She’s just so good,” she said.
The movie is currently set to be released in November.