There’s A Rumor Beyoncé Is Working On A Sarah Baartman Project; South African Chief Said She’s Not Worthy
Beyoncé is a lot of things, worthy of portraying Sarah Baartman is not one of them. That’s if you ask Chief Jean Burgess of the Ghonaqua, the First Indigenous Peoples of South Africa. See there’s a rumor going around that the singer is plotting to win an Oscar and plans to write and star in her own movie based on Sarah Baartman to do it. While that seems like a far-fetched plan in our minds for the woman of many talents, whether it’s true or not Chief Burgess let his opinion of Bey be known. He told News 24 in South Africa when asked about the rumored project:
“She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part. “Ignoring the fact that the KhoiKhoi is alive and that Sarah’s story would have an impact on how we are portrayed, is a mistake of great magnitude.”
“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 her’s to tell.”
KhoiKhoi is the tribe which Baartman, known for being put on display in freak shows because of her large posterior, was born into in 1789 in the Gamtoos River Valley. For years people paid money to see Baartman, dubbed “Hottentot Venus,” in display in cages in London, and even after her death her brain and genitals were placed in jars in an exhibition at the Musée del’Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris until 1974. It wasn’t until 2002 that Baartman’s remains were returned to her birthplace at the request of former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
It’s for those reasons above that Burgess explained consultation, respect, and acknowledgment of the existence of the Peoples were fundamental to any narrative on Baartman. While Gamtkwa Khoisan Council member Kobus Reichert said he didn’t have a problem with the rumored movie or Beyoncé acting in it as long as the community in the Eastern Cape wasn’t ignored, he did note the project needed to be done respectfully and with the right “cultural understanding.”
We’re hoping Bey decides not to touch this project at all — if she ever did to begin with.