Culture

So #WOKE! Here’s Why The #ADOS Crowd Is Boycotting A Movie About Harriet Tubman

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].

2. Cynthia Erivo ‘disrespected’ the “descendants of Harriet Tubman”

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.

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