Beyonce Will Reportedly Direct And Star In Movie About Saartjie Baartman

Beyonce is no stranger to the silver screen, and now there are now exciting and as-of-yet unconfirmed reports saying she’s hired a team of acting coaches and writers for her next project, a film she’ll direct and star in.

The (hopefully real) film will tell the story of Saartjie Baartman, a South African woman who was captured and taken to London in the 1800s, where she was forced to perform under the name Hottentot Venus in freak shows that exploited her body’s “unusual shape.”

When British abolitionists saw Baartman’s treatment in the shows, they attempted to help her escape on the grounds that she was kidnapped and her performance was against her will. However, the court ruled in favor of the showman, Hendrik Caesars, when he was able to produce a contract. Baartman died of an inflammatory disease at 27, in poverty. Her remains were displayed for over 150 years at the Museum of Man in Paris, until they were finally removed out of respect.

Although Saartjie’s story is marked by deep racial and sexual exploitation, her history is being reclaimed as a symbol of perseverance. In 1999 the The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children was opened in Cape Town for surviviors of domestic violence.

If these reports of Beyonce’s project are true, it would be fantastic to see how she is able to bring light to this history.