ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Beyoncé might be incapable of doing any wrong in the eyes of the 'Bey Hive,' but queen B has royally offended plenty of people in the wake of her controversial rumored movie role as the essentially enslaved and ritually humiliated South African woman, Sarah (Saartje) Baartman.

It has recently been reported by various news outlets that Beyoncé is working on a screenplay for a biopic of Baartman's tragic life, in which she would also star, naturally.

Nobody puts Beyoncé in the corner!
Nobody puts Beyoncé in the corner!

For those of you unfamiliar with Baartman's upsetting story, she was a member of the Khoikhoi tribe of hunter-gatherers who was exploited at British freakshows during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Labelled as the “Hottentot Venus,” Baartman was displayed naked against her will and highly sexualized due to her large buttocks.

An image of Baartman and a poster for her show
An image of Baartman and a poster for her show

Turning this woman's life story of abuse, exploitation, and abject racism into money-spinning entertainment would always be controversial, but the idea of a powerful international superstar portraying a powerless, enslaved woman has really offended some people.

One of the most outspoken critics has been Chief Jean Burgess of South Africa who is a local leader for the 'Ghonaqua First Peoples.' Burgess hasn't held back with her opinions that Beyoncé is "not worthy" of representing the important historical figure. She told the press that:

"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."
A cast of Baartman's body  that was made after her death without her permission
A cast of Baartman's body that was made after her death without her permission

Burgess went on to criticize Beyoncé for wanting to tell a story that she knows nothing about, she told 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.”

UPDATE: Beyoncé's agents have released a statement confirming she will NOT appear in this rumored biopic. They told Billboard that:

“Beyoncé is in no way tied to this project. This is an important story that should be told, however.”

Although this might be for the best, who can forget one of Beyonce's most iconic roles, as the rightful girlfriend of Idris Elba in 2009's Obsessed.

(Source: MTV)


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