NEW YORK – Yesterday, Fox Searchlight held community-focused screenings of the new film The Birth of a Nation in various markets around the country. Organizations such as the National Action Network (NAN) in Harlem, the Emerging 100 of Houston, the City of Compton, 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, the Jamaica Center for Learning & Arts (JCAL) in Queens, NY, and the T.R.E. Foundation in Charlotte each partnered with Fox to host sold-out screenings for their members.
The Birth of a Nation writer, director and star Nate Parker stopped by the Queens and Harlem screenings, where he was met with standing ovations and praise for the powerful film. NAN founder/president Rev. Al Sharpton – who was celebrating his birthday that day — was on hand to thank Nate personally for telling the story of Nat Turner. Additional Harlem attendees included Valerie Bell (mother of 2006 police shooting victim Sean Bell), Councilwoman Inez Dickens, Korey Wise (member of the wrongfully-convicted Central Park Five), Rev. Herbert D. Daughtry (former Lt. for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Judge Tanya Kenney (NY Supreme Court First Judicial District) and more.
In Los Angeles, Compton Mayor Aja Brown alongside 100 Black Men of LA president Rev. Jewett Walker and Carson Mayor Albert Robles welcomed guests to the Cinemark Carson. Gospel singer James Fortune and Emerging 100 president Steve Hadley introduced the film in Houston, as did JCAL Board Chair Michelle Stoddart and board member Shante Bacon in Queens and Chelandra Moore-Quarles of the T.R.E. Foundation in Charlotte.
The Birth of a Nation is in theaters everywhere on Friday.
Additional photos below of both Birth of a Nation screening in NYC and LA