Sheryl Underwood, A Rape Survivor, Defends Nate Parker: “He’s Given His Life To Christ. He’s Become A Better Person”

October 11, 2016  |  

We told you that Nate Parker’s film Birth of a Nation didn’t produce as many ticket sales as predicted this past weekend. With the conversation focused on Parker’s past, specifically the allegations of rape against him in college, it seems that the story of Nat Turner was overshadowed. Many who initially planned to support the film, no longer wanted to. But one person who did see the film and is supporting Nate Parker is The Talk‘s Sheryl Underwood. Despite being a woman who was sexually assaulted, Underwood said on the show this week that at least Parker has tried to change for the better. She believes that if we’re going to forgo supporting his work and hold him to these allegations forever, we all need to do the same when it comes to acclaimed filmmakers like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. Yes, it’s that conversation again… 

“I think this is an odd time for this to be the time that they judge this man on this. He made a movie, Beyond the Lights, where he was some cop protecting some pop singer, and this never was brought out. And now it’s being brought out when he makes the most iconic film, the most thought-provoking film for some of us that believe that Nat Turner was a revolutionary,” Underwood said. “I also think when you talk about this, why is it that Roman Polanski can do whatever he wants to do and that was a 13-year-old child? Woody Allen? But I guess my feeling about this is, from a person who has been raped, one thing we need to take a moment to understand is the long-lasting devastating effect of rape on everyone involved. The young lady who could not move forward in her life that felt the only way to end that pain was to take her life. So when you talk about a movie that seems to artistically portray the violation of people who were considered property, then you’re talking about a political devastation, not just a sexual devastation that was supposed to motivate Nat Turner to do what he did. So for everybody in this room who does not understand, at the end of the day, his life has been changed, but he has evolved. He’s given his life to Christ. He’s become a better person. If you want to hold him to that, then you need to hold everybody else that’s done something to the exact same standard.”

Underwood has spoken in the past about being raped right after college. Her abuser was never caught. Still, she told PEOPLE that everything she went through made her a better, stronger person.

“I wouldn’t change anything in my life, because I have learned so much about myself.”

Check out Underwood’s comments on the controversy surrounding Parker below and let us know whether or not you agree with her.

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