Aja King’s latest role is Cherry, Nat Turner’s wife in the film Birth of A Nation. Nate Parker, who co-wrote and directed the movie also plays Turner. He is an educated slave used by his master to preach to other slaves about obedience. Ironically, Turner turns into the lead slave in a revolt killing about 65 white men and women in Southampton County, VA.
The film shows the true horrors of slavery along with the violence and emotions that came along with it. The movie shows the uprising of the slaves as well. Parker previously had a 1999 rape case which ruined his reputation for a while. Although Parker was found not guilty of the crime, the film’s co-writer Jean Celestin was. Aja King said after she found out about the case she wasn’t sure what to do about it anymore, but soon realized that the real purpose of her role was to bring Nat Turner’s story to life. King talked about it in detail:
“I was extremely conflicted. I really loved the Op-Ed Gabrielle Union wrote because I felt like it spoke to everything I was feeling. You know, here’s someone I know personally, and it’s been disturbing to say the least. But the thing I’ve been able to hold onto is this special and brief moment in time last year when we were all in Savannah, Georgia and shooting this film, this independent film at the time I was like ‘You know, maybe no one will even see this’ but just knowing, what it meant to me to be standing on a plantation, in that heat, on that soil, knowing that everything that happened there and allowing that to wash over me.”
Turner led a blood bath of an uprising that lasted 2 full days including destroying everything in sight. King spoke at the Toronto Film Festival about what needs to be done to change the constant killing of innocent black men and women and police brutality. King went on:
“The thing is, we have done so much. We as black people have continued to do so much. The disruption that needs to happen is that it can’t just be us anymore. It has to be everyone. Everyone has to be as angry as we are.”
Watch her talk about it below: