Birth Of A Nation's Nate Parker Hopes To Reclaim The Narrative Of American Racism

'We have to be honest about who we were and who we are'

The frame that seems to truly hit home in the trailer for the upcoming Birth of a Nation is towards the end, when a group of slaves have reached the breaking point of their mistreatment by slave owners and, armed with farm equipment, charge at their oppressors.

We still have a few months until the critically acclaimed film is released to the masses. Still, buzz continues to grow for the passion project, helmed by wunderkind Nate Parker, whom MTV News caught up with at last week's CinemaCon.

The movie, written, directed, and starring Parker, tells the true story of Southampton County, Virginia slave Nat Turner, who in 1835 led the most successful slave rebellion in history. For Parker, however, the process of even getting the film seen by a wide audience was an uphill battle.

Elliot Davis / Sundance / Fox Searchlight

"With this project, I taught myself to keep my expectations very low, you know," Parker told MTV News's Josh Horowitz. "Because when you're out and you're raising money and you're waving your script around, you don't know how people are gonna respond. In this process you kiss a lot of frogs -- and every once in a while, you get a couple of princes and princesses."

The prince in this scenario, studio Fox Searchlight, offered a record $17.5 million deal to Parker, which probably elicited this reaction from him:


With distribution, the film's wide-release date will be October 7, 2016, which happens to be a few weeks before the presidential election. This wasn't lost on Horowitz, who he asked Parker if that had entered his mind.

"As human beings we have to make decisions that are going to leave this country better for our children," Parker replied. "If this film can sway people towards right, sway people toward justice, sway people toward being activated and it has some type of effect politically? That's great ... that's what I want."

With Birth of a Nation, Parker hopes to reclaim the narrative of American racism, which the passage of time has made many forget, discount, or wish everyone would just get over.

"If we are to really see the progress that our ancestors have been fighting for for generations ... if we're ready to see this country realized for the ideas that were set in place," Parker said. "We have to be honest about who we were and who we are."