The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson as Southern civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Sam Rockwell as C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan who, inspired by Atwater, undergoes a phenomenal transformation.
Rolling out spoke with Henson about her new role, her character as a change agent and fighting inequality in an unjust world.
“The same God made you made me.” How did that line serve as an act of Black courage and assist Ann Atwater in becoming an agent of change?
Henson: I think Ann understood God’s love. God’s love was all-inclusive. And if you’re going to call yourself Christian, and if you’re going to go and worship, and I think you’re worshipping the same God I’m worshipping, then the same God made you made me.
You’re a Howard University graduate, a Black woman, a minority. How do you inspire the next generation of students at Howard or at any school to fight for equality in a world where there is so much inequality?
Henson: Here’s the deal, it’s just this simple: The squeaky wheel gets fixed. You got to speak up. You have to. I’m a Mom. If I don’t speak up, well how’s my son’s life going to be better? We have to speak up. We have to talk to each other, and we have to listen. That’s the beat that’s missing. We don’t listen to each other. I think we need more charrettes.
The Best of Enemies opens in theaters Friday, April 5, 2019.