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Actor, activist, and film director Nate Parker recently sat down with NewsOne Now Host Roland Martin to discuss his new film, The Birth of a Nation.

The controversial movie chronicles the legacy of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion of 1831.

Parker also discussed his transition into directing, his history in Hollywood, and the importance of showcasing films that depict and preserve the harsh realities of Black history.

Parker explained he transitioned into directing to be able to control the narrative: “Far too often the material that represents our history, represents our legacies, are told by people that don’t understand our culture, don’t understand the trauma, don’t understand the triumph.” 

“In dealing with our history, there is this misconception that when we resisted or when we did things to better our people, they were outside the ideals of what America is and what it was designed to stand for.”  

He added those who resisted oppression “represented what America is supposed to be with respect to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“My whole thing is if you are White, if you are pink or peach, if you are purple or green, you should be able to celebrate a man that stood for American ideals, that stood for peace, without having to even interpret the color of the skin,” Parker said.

Parker, who received critical acclaim for his role in Beyond The Lights, addressed the pushback by many in America who refuse to deal with the nation’s harsh racist past, saying, “If we are to heal, we have to confront this.”

“If you ask any psychologist, anyone who has been through trauma at any level of their life — for them to get past it, it has to be honest confrontation. You can’t berate people into change.”

Parker later added for those who continue to use the phrase “pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” the reality is African-Americans have been “traumatized by the hands of someone.”

“I’m saying let’s look back, be honest about what happened so we can talk about what happened, then we can talk about a healing process — the medicine.”

Watch Roland Martin and Nate Parker discuss his upcoming film The Birth of a Nation and the harsh realities of slavery in the clip above.

Be sure to watch part two of Roland Martin’s interview with Nate Parker during Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now.

NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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Nate Parker Talks “The Birth Of A Nation” & The Harsh Realities Of American History  was originally published on