Seems like this should go without saying, but don’t have your wedding at a plantation or plantation-style house.
According to Yahoo! Life, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez held their three-day wedding celebration at his property in Riceboro, Ga. Apparently, back in 2000, he had the home built in a “plantation-style,” meaning the Oscar-winner specifically wanted his house to resemble a slave plantation.
I understand that white people have some Gone With the Wind-style obsession with that era, but you can’t separate your weird desire to be Rhett and Scarlett from the reality of slavery.
You still don’t get it? Let me make it simple for you.
When you have celebrations and parties on plantations, you are literally dancing on the graves of enslaved people. In this case, that may actually be true, as Daily Mail is reporting that “the property was originally home to a ‘thriving’ rice plantation known as Hampton Pastures and was owned by Roswell King. The plantation was worked by slaves and Creek Indians, and the property dates back to before the Civil War.”
The outlet goes on to report an “unmarked slave graveyard is located somewhere on the property.”
Considering how many times Affleck has tried to sell this problematic property, there’s no way this tragic history didn’t come up in a public records search.
In the Justice League actor’s case, this whole decision is even more problematic when you remember he went down a similar road several years back. As we previously reported at The Root, back in 2015, after discovering he had a slave-owning ancestor while appearing on the PBS series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Gone Girl star tried to have that information scrubbed from the episode because it was “embarrassing.”
When leaked emails revealed how he requested the segment be cut, the actor responded on Facebook, writing at the time, “I lobbied [the producer] the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip [the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr.] agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.”
So having gone through all that and witnessing the backlash Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively received when their plantation wedding was criticized, Ben somehow didn’t learn his lesson and held his highly-publicized second wedding to J. Lo at a plantation where the main building is referred to as “the Big House.”
I guess we’ll just have to keep saying this until it finally sinks in: plantations are not some quaint reminder of a simpler time or a romantic trip through nostalgia. They are a symbol of all the pain, trauma and suffering of our ancestors.
Our history is not a tourist destination.