It was recently publicized that singer Beyonce is currently working with a team of writers and other creative minds to pen a film about Saartjie Baartman. For you ignorant folks out there, Saartjie Baartman, or Sarah Baartman, as some may know her, was a South African woman who was sold into slavery in her 20s by a Scottish doctor named Alexander Dunlop. After being sold, she was taken on a tour all across Europe as part of a themed “Hottentot Venus,” sounds like a name for a Nicki Minaj tour doesn’t it? We regress, more on this shortly.
While on this degrading tour, she was forced to perform native dances, lude acts, playing African instruments, and wearing barely anything to entertain the sickened and twisted European men who exploited her. Fast forward, this story has had such an impact on history, that even ignorant people like Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and others have exploited her story without even knowing her name.
Beyonce, somehow, heard about her story and wants to bring it to film. Commendable, but there is a slight problem. First problem, hypocrisy. Beyonce is an entertainer, a business woman, we get it. But it’s apparent that how she has reached the level of fame and riches, the exploitation of her own body and skin lightness, is an insult to the legacy of Saartjie Baartman. South African Chief Jean Burgess of the Ghonaqua First Peoples has even stronger opinions on Beyonce’s involvement in the Saartjie Baartman story. When asked how he felt, the chief went on record to say:
“She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part,” Burgess to News24. “Why Sarah Baartman? Why not a story about an indigenous American woman? I can only see arrogance in her attempt to tell a story that is not hers to tell.”
Beyonce‘s efforts are commendable, but her motives for wanting to do the project must be scrutinized. If it’s about her own soul searching, fantastic, we’re all for it. However, she has to answer to somethings if her entire motive is to convince people that she’s Oscar Awards worthy, and not that she just wants to bring Saarjie Baartman‘s story to the mainstream, and just happens to win an Oscar in the process. See the difference?
Beyonce can still be involved with the project, but consider casting rapper Nicki Minaj to play Saartjie Baartman. That way, if the project does well, she can still get her Oscar, but not as a leading actress. What do you all think about Nicki Minaj being a better fit to play Saartjie Baartman than Beyonce?