Recently, we reported that Beyoncé might be working on a screenplay for a biopic (in which she would also star) based on the life of Saartjie (“Sarah”) Baartman, a South African woman exploited at British freak shows during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Baartman, known as the “Hottentot Venus,” was put on display against her will due to her large buttocks.
While news of the biopic is still unconfirmed, Chief Jean Burgess of South Africa has offered her two cents, declaring Beyoncé unworthy of portraying such an important historical figure.
“She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part,” Burgess, a local chief of the Ghonaqua First Peoples, told News24. “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.
Burgess suggested that the pop star focus her efforts on telling the story of an “Indigenous American woman” instead.
“Why Sarah Baartman?” she said. “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.”