For most of the week, the internet has been overloaded with an assortment of commentary from fans and naysayers alike amid a flurry of rumors that Beyoncé had plans to write and star in a film about Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman.
Baartman, a South African woman who appeared in traveling freak shows of the 1800s under the name Hottentot Venus because of her abnormally large backside, died in 1815 at the age of 26, but didn’t receive a proper burial in her homeland of South Africa until 2002.
When news of Beyoncé’s intentions of making a film about Baartman starring herself hit the wire, fans were immediately divided. Diehard Beyhivers cheered the idea while a larger majority felt the 34-year-old pop diva would be the wrong fit for the role.
Alas, it appears all the chatter will be much ado about nothing as a rep for the “Drunk In Love” singer says the rumor is completely false.
“Beyoncé is in no way tied to this project,” her rep told Billboard via statement. “This is an important story that should be told, however.”
Jack Devnarain, who serves as chairman of the South African Guild of Actors, agrees with the Beyoncé camp that Baartman’s story is one that deserves attention.
“The story of Saartjie Baartman is a tale of torture and humiliation of a woman, womanhood in general and an entire culture indigenous to Southern Africa,” Devnarain said. “As an episode in South African history, it describes the crippling damage of racism, sexism and exploitation. Baartman was paraded as a freak and brutally robbed of her humanity. Her story needs to be told.”