Pop Culture

Who should have portrayed Harriet Tubman?

Written by Nicole J.


So the Harriet Tubman movie featuring Cynthia Erivo as the titular character was released recently, and it seems like it’ll be a flop amongst the black community. The flop status may be due to the revisionist history that seems to pop up in these slave films, or because people hate the lead actress. Cynthia has been #cancelled due to some tweets that was deemed offensive to the African-American/ADOS/FBA community. She is also Nigerian-British, unlike Harriet, who was American. The #NotMyHarriet hashtag is gaining steam. I can’t really speak on it though, as I haven’t seen it.


And I won’t be seeing it either, because in the year of our Lord 2019 I am sick to death of slave movies.  As long as I live I won’t watch another one because, like Marie Kondo says, it does not spark joy. But that’s not the topic I want to discuss.


In the Facebook comments about my article about classifying someone as biracial not being an insult, quite a few people, notably black women, took offense to my stance, which is well within their right. I write to get people thinking, and I also like to get people triggered. Based on the 400+ comments, the job was done.

As such, this is one of many spinoffs based on the commentary people posted.


Operating on the line of thinking presented in some of the comments, I started to wonder. Since biracial people, meaning a person with one black parent and one nonblack parent, are indeed black, could one of the actresses I consider biracial have played the iconic Harriet Tubman instead? Would someone like Amandla Stenberg or Rashida Jones or Logan Browning (all pictured below) be better suited for the role? Why or why not? Sure, it may not be historically accurate, but surely artistic license could be applied, no? From what I’ve heard, the producers had no qualms about applying artistic license in other parts of the movie.


Amandla Stenberg by Gage Skidmore.jpgRashida JonesLogan Browning WonderCon 2015.png

(photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, I’m exaggerating to an extreme level. While talented, none of these actresses are a good fit for Miss Tubman. Though, maybe I’m on to something, because Zoe Saldana played a real life, and much more recent legend, Nina Simone, who she looked nothing like.  Halle Berry and Alex Shipp have both played Storm, a comic book character drawn and animated in shades of dark brown. Why not here too?


Since Cynthia wasn’t a suitable choice, who would have been better, in your opinion? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.

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