Cynthia Erivo claps back at critic on her new role as Harriet Tubman

The British Tony, Emmy, and Grammy, winner Cynthia Erivo, who will star in an upcoming film about iconic abolitionist Harriet Tubman clapped back on an online critic unhappy with the decision, essence.com reports.   

Earlier this week, Focus Features announced Erivo will portray Harriet Tubman in Harriet, which will depict Tubman’s historic escape from slavery and her quest to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad to the South in the late 18th Century through the Civil War, reported deadline.com.

But someone on Instagram became critical of Erivo being picked for a highly-sought after role instead of an African-American actress, Erivo shared the comment in her Instagram stories.

“Why do you Brits come to the U.S. and take roles that should be reserved for African-Americans?” the commenter said. “How would you feel (if) we went to your country and snagged all the acting roles? Why can’t you people create your own movies and roles in the U.K.? We paved the way for ourselves here, and you people come and take (shots) we worked hard for…”

Erivo responded by saying she wasn’t sure about addressing the criticism.

“I struggled a little with whether or not to post anything about this role, because even though there is so much celebration and encouragement coming through, there’s also anger and offense spurred on by my being from the UK…..I guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was,” she wrote. “That (cannot) be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly.”

“Nothing has been given to me without me first putting the work in, people speak of foreign privilege and truthfully life would be unbelievably easy if that were applied to me but that is not my portion. I fought for the role of Celie, and spilled blood sweat and tears playing her, the same applies for every role I’ve earned, this will be no different,” she continued.

“I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story. I posted this because I cannot allow people to make me neglect to celebrate this honor,” she added. “This story has gone unnoted for long enough…”

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In another story post, Erivo said, “If you met me in the street and hadn’t heard me speak, would you know I was British, or would you simply see a Black woman?”

The movie will be directed by Kasi Lemmons from a screenplay she co-wrote with Gregory Allen Howard. Production for the film, which also co-stars Tony and Grammy winner, Leslie Odom Jr., from “Hamilton” fame starts next month in Virginia.

 

 

 

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I struggled a little with whether or not to post anything about this role, because even though there is so much celebration and encouragement coming through, there’s also anger and offense spurred on by my being from the UK…..I guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was. That can not be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly. Nothing has been given to me without me first putting the work in, people speak of foreign privilege and truthfully life would be unbelievably easy if that were applied to me but that is not my portion. I fought for the role of Celie, and spilled blood sweat and tears playing her, the same applies for every role I’ve earned, this will be no different. I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story. I posted this because I cannot allow people to make me neglect to celebrate this honor. This story has gone unnoted for long enough and @debramchase Daniela Taplin and @focusfeatures are the perfect home the beautiful way Kasi Lemmons has told this story is more than a blessing. I am glad to be given the opportunity to bring the life of Harriet Tubman to you. I would be lying if I didn’t make it clear that this is scary, and I thank you in advance for the support. Love you much. ALL OF YOU! Yours truly ❤❤

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Source: Entertainment – The Grio

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