In 2012, he was even selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a U.S. global cultural ambassador. Abdul-Jabbar has written several books, and has become a much-respected cultural critic when it comes topics like the Nate Parker controversy.
To offer his opinion on Parker and Birth of a Nation, which is set to hit theaters on October 7, Abdul-Jabbar wrote a review of the film for The Hollywood Reporter. The 69-year-old first delves in on Parker being tried for rape 17 years ago and if it should effect whether people see the movie.
Abdul-Jabbar compares the situation to that of Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, who both have a history of sexual misconduct, yet the films they were involved in were not affected. The retired athlete is seemingly saying the art shouldn’t be equated with the artist.
Abdul-Jabbar says that the controversy threatens to “overshadow his impressive, important and flawed film.”
The NBA champion disagrees with films about slaves being whitewashed and not showing the true pain slaves endured. But he also warns these types movies can suffer from blackwashing, by mythologizing certain characters, which is what he feels happened to Nat Turner’s character in Birth of a Nation.
Despite that, Abdul-Jabbar believes the film is a success, noting, “He captures the truth of the spirit of defiance necessary for all people to remain free. But in an attempt to romanticize Nat Turner, he overlooks what truly made him heroic and his rebellion a warning bell for the future.”
Read the rest of Abdul-Jabbar’s review of Birth of a Nation here.
SOURCE: The Hollyood Reporter | IMAGE CREDIT: Getty
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