Beyonce is planning reportedly to make her screenwriter debut with a film about the life of Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman from South Africa who was put on display at British Victorian freak shows as the “Hottentot Venus” for her large backside between the years 1810 and 1814. According to reports by The Sun and other publications, not only is she planning on writing it, but she also plans on starring in the film.
This is certainly an ambitious project (even for Beyonce) and, not everyone is happy with this news; Chief Jean Burgess of the First Indigenous Peoples of South Africa is one of them.
Even though it’s not been confirmed, the chief has been outspoken about her disdain for the idea. She told South Africa’s News 24, "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.” "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 her’s to tell."
In 1810, Baartman was enslaved and taken to London and placed in Piccadilly Circus in a meter-and-a-half high cage where Europeans renamed her "Hottentot Venus" and paid to gawk at her half naked body. In she died in 1816, after a mold was made out of her body to continue to be displayed in museums. Her brain and genitals were placed in jars which were displayed at the Musée del'Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris until 1974. With the pressure from former South African president Nelson Mandela, the French government returned Baartman's remains to her homeland so she could be laid to rest with dignity on March 6, 2002.
As you can see, the story of Baartman’s life is heavy. Even though it’s a rumor thus far, do you think Beyonce has what it takes to write and star in a true life story as poignant as this one?