Queen B has done it again. However, this time I’m not too sure what her master plan is. Just in case, you’ve been living under a rock or haven’t gotten your weekly Beyhive newsletter, Beyoncé plans on writing and possibly starring in a film about Saartjie Baartman.
Saartjie Baartman was a South African woman who during the 18th and 19th century was sexually abused. In addition to this sexual violence, Baartmen was displayed in human zoos. After her death, ignorant scientists dissected her body, and it wasn’t until 1976 that her body cast was removed from display. Over time, Baartmen became the symbol of the sexual exploitation and fetishization of Black women and their bodies.
Even though, this movie could be an influential step toward representing the dark history of Black women’s body that the history books like to forget, it is still problematic. If there’s going to be a movie about Saartjie Baartman, then it has to be done right. It has to be a complete portrayal of her struggle while in a world that explicitly treated Black women as animals. The question that’s lingering on everyone’s tongue is whether or not Beyonce will be able to do it right?
There’s no denying that Beyonce is a household name. She’s an influential force that has sold millions of records. However, when people watch the film of Saartjie Baartmen, they’ll first watch Beyoncé on the screen and then they will see Saartjie Baartmen. This time around Beyoncé star power on the silver screen might distract the audience from Baartmen’s story.
Another question we have to ask—Is Beyoncé the right one to be telling this story? There are hundreds of screenwriters and actresses who would jump at the opportunity to portray Baartman’s story on screen. Perhaps someone else who is sponsored by Beyonce can create the movie of a moment in history people try to forget.