By Kerry Justich, Yahoo Movies
The trailer for the anticipated Harriet biopic was released on Tuesday morning, and already thousands of reactions are flooding in about the overdue film honouring American abolitionist Harriet Tubman — including those who are critical about the decision to cast Brit Cynthia Erivo.
— Harriet Film (@HarrietFilm) July 23, 2019
Controversy surrounding the choice to have Erivo — the acclaimed black British actress — portray Tubman began back in September 2018, when it was announced that Erivo would be starring in the film.
Now, after her performance was captured in a more than 2-minute trailer for the movie coming out in November, some Twitter users are demanding that the film be boycotted and say #HarrietDeservesBetter.
Similarly to the conversation sparked by Daniel Kaluuya’s casting in the film Get Out, people have suggested that an African-American actress, rather than a Brit, should have been cast as Tubman to more accurately portray the struggle of racism and slavery in America. Many said that it should have even been an American descendant of slavery (ADOS) to play the part.
— 🇺🇸🌴Electric Bo Peep🌴🇺🇸 (@eBoPeep) July 23, 2019
I won’t be watching
You should have casted an American Descendant of Slavery
Not a black Brit!
— SamanthaAngeliq🇺🇸 Lets try this again (@SamanthaAngeliq) July 23, 2019
Yea, I ain't watching this either. We are tired of our American roles going to people who don't have the same lineage of the characters they are portraying. It's like a dog playing the role of a cat.
— Nas Escobar (@nasescobar316) July 23, 2019
Supporting this film isnt in #ADOS best interest
1. Does this actress come from a #slave trading family
2. This is an #AmericanDOS story which an #ADOS actress should be lead and credit
3. What #ados Historian validated script or #white hollywood
— Michael 'Mike' Adams (@MJ_Adams30281) July 23, 2019
— Júnot Indigo (@junotjoyner) July 23, 2019
Still, when Erivo posted the trailer to her own Twitter and wrote, “I hope i make you proud!!!” people commended her for her beautiful performance, despite the controversy.
Cynthia ,I will be honest my family was not thrilled about a Brit being cast as this role. But we watch the trailer together and my mom who’s in her 80’s and from Virginia turned to me and said we have to go see this. I have no doubt you have.
— outraged and paying attention! (@ceehope) July 23, 2019
I wish i could explain what this one comment means to me, tears are in my eyes, I want so much to make you and the elders like your mom proud. I really do. Thank her for giving me a chance to. Thank you. You don’t know how you’ve lifted me today. Thank you.
— Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaEriVo) July 23, 2019
proud is an understatement. you are magic.
— nile (@storyteIIers) July 23, 2019
I just saw the trailer and I cried. I cried because of the story and your performance. You embodied her as we could imagine. I’m overly proud that you have told this story through your impeccable performance. I pray this film shines light and helps others understand her fight! pic.twitter.com/a9Q0IqbI1L
— Life is a marathon 🏁 (@lifeluver212) July 23, 2019
Others, who have also watched the trailer in awe, are taking to social media to demand a different type of justice for Tubman — her face on the $20 bill.
— TheSmokeBreakPodcast (@TheSmokeBreakP2) July 23, 2019
It’s about time we had a Harriet Tubman biopic. And this looks really good. PS: Lets get Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill! (It will happen one day.) https://t.co/Cmv4pR4oRN
— Thomas Galvin (@ThomasGalvin) July 23, 2019
$20 Harriet Tubman bill gotta be up next
— blazin hiphop&R&B🍷🎂🍰🖇 (@niles_blahblah) July 23, 2019
Maybe we won't have a Harriet Tubman $20 bill for another six years but this Harriet biopic looks like it's ready to do us one better https://t.co/w9BaIfO0Qa
— Things Imagined (@Taylor__Hosking) July 23, 2019
The redesign of the note, which was announced in 2016 and supposed to be unveiled in 2020, is now on hold according to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. However, people hope that the film will expedite the process.