Beyoncé is determined to make herself a better actress, and her most recent project rumor has some people up in arms. It’s been widely reported that Beyoncé has set her sights on writing and starring in a movie about Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, the South African woman who, because of her large butt, was taken from South Africa during the 19th centtury and put on display in Europe. Baartman came to be known as the Hottentot Venus while working the European freak shows.
During her time in Europe, Baartman was forced to perform “native” dances while playing African instruments and wearing a flesh-colored suit. Author Rachel Holmes attempted to shed light on Baartman’s life in African Queen: the Real Life of the Hottentot Venus, but telling a story about a woman who was literally enslaved was definitely riddled with assumptions.
South African Chief Jean Burgess of the Ghonaqua First Peoples is appalled by the idea of Beyoncé working on a Baartman project.
“She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part,” Burgess 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.”
The Sun reported that the film will follow Baartman’s enslavement and her subsequent court case about performing against her will. Although she did not win her case, she did eventually escape, but according to Holmes’ book, Baartman eventually ended up a prostitute and died destitute, only for her remains to be put on display at the Museum of Natural History.
One has to wonder if Beyoncé is actually planning to make the movie or whether it’s just the Sun reporting a rumor. If there is a movie being planned, it could probably be handled better by someone more well versed in filmmaking and acting.