Be Free Or Die: Watch The First Trailer For The Harriet Tubman Movie

July 23, 2019  |  

Harriet Tubman

Source: Focus Features / Focus Features

Over two years ago, we reported that Cynthia Erivo would take on the role of Harriet Tubman in a new film. Since then, there were questions about whether or not Erivo should take on such an iconic American figure not only because she was raised in the United Kingdom, without a lineage of slavery in her past, there was also her support of Luvvie Ajayi in the midst of a controversy that left many Black people with the sense that Ajayi didn’t respect Black culture.

And if one doesn’t have the utmost respect for American Black culture, portraying one of our greatest legends should come with questions.

Erivo addressed this in an Instagram post when her casting announcement was made.

View this post on Instagram

I struggled a little with whether or not to post anything about this role, because even though there is so much celebration and encouragement coming through, there’s also anger and offense spurred on by my being from the UK…..I guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was. That can not be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly. Nothing has been given to me without me first putting the work in, people speak of foreign privilege and truthfully life would be unbelievably easy if that were applied to me but that is not my portion. I fought for the role of Celie, and spilled blood sweat and tears playing her, the same applies for every role I’ve earned, this will be no different. I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story. I posted this because I cannot allow people to make me neglect to celebrate this honor. This story has gone unnoted for long enough and @debramchase Daniela Taplin and @focusfeatures are the perfect home the beautiful way Kasi Lemmons has told this story is more than a blessing. I am glad to be given the opportunity to bring the life of Harriet Tubman to you. I would be lying if I didn’t make it clear that this is scary, and I thank you in advance for the support. Love you much. ALL OF YOU! Yours truly ❤️❤️

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But time has passed, temperatures have cooled. And the trailer for the movie has finally dropped. The film, according to Focus Features is “based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.”

The film will be directed and co-written Kasi Lemmons, the Black woman behind Eve’s Bayou, Black Nativity and Talk to Me.

Erivo will be joined by Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Janelle Monáe (Moonlight), Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Clarke Peters.

Take a look of a few of these people in action in the trailer below.

I have to admit it looks pretty good. Erivo’s southern accent could have been a bit better but the emotion and the physical strength and the mental fortitude Tubman possessed shines through in this nearly 3-minute trailer.

Harriet will be in theaters on November 1, 2019.

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