Over the last day or so, the internet has been abuzz with the news that Beyonce would make her return to acting with a biopic. However, it was the topic of that biopic that had many feeling more than a little skeptical.
It was The Sun that first reported over the weekend that Bey was in the process of bringing Saartjie Baartman's historic story to the big screen, all in pursuit of taking home an Oscar. Baartman - also known as "Sarah" or by the offensive stage name of "Hottentot Venus" - spent four years in Britain being displayed as an attraction in freak shows, due to her body and coloring. The South African woman died at the age of 26, and, following her death, her dissected body was displayed in Paris' Museum of Man for over 150 years until she finally received a proper burial in the 1970s.
Just the idea of a Beyonce-led Baartman biopic had many up in arms, including a South African chief who called Bey completely unworthy of the role.
"She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah's story, let alone playing the part," Chief Jean Burgess of the Ghonaqua First Peoples said in an interview with 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 reps issued a statement to Billboard yesterday, saying, “Beyonce is in no way tied to this project. This is an important story that should be told, however.”
Was The Sun completely irresponsible in its reporting, or did Beyonce run from the project because the backlash was too negative? Either way, hopefully this spells the end of this alarming casting.