Actor Nate Parker seeks Hollywood return after rape scandal with new basketball project
Actor Nate Parker is gearing up for a showbiz rebound with a new web series titled, Baselines.
While Parker’s team has yet to confirm all the specifics surrounding the 38-year-old’s latest project, The Hollywood Reporter describes the short-form digital series as one that depicts the ins-and-outs of a Los Angeles family attempting to “protect their aspiring pro basketball player from the dangers of inner city Los Angeles.”
The project will be the first for the controversial actor after details of a college rape trial were made public during the promotion of his then passion project, The Birth of a Nation.
The ensuing scandal shuttered Nate Parker’s hopes for box office and awards season success for the film.
Chatter around Nate Parker’s latest project, for which he will write and direct, is the first of its kind since 2016 when he was on the heels of what was forecasted to be a stellar year. The creative was heavy on the promotional circuit for The Birth of a Nation, when whispers of a college rape trial snowballed into a social media firestorm.
At age 19, while a student at Penn State, Nate Parker was accused of raping a woman. He was later arrested and stood trial for the accusation, but was found not guilty. Parker has maintained his innocence but it wasn’t enough to save the star’s hopes for his directorial debut telling the story of Nat Turner’s violent slave rebellion.
The Birth of a Nation ultimately didn’t perform well at the box office and some of the movies’ stars, who once campaigned for the film’s success, shared their concerns about the Nate Parker’s past publicly.
Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion. I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular. I knew I could walk out of our movie and speak to the audience about what it feels like to be a survivor.
My compassion for victims of sexual violence is something that I cannot control. It spills out of me like an instinct rather than a choice. It pushes me to speak when I want to run away from the platform. When I am scared. Confused. Ashamed. I remember this part of myself and must reach out to anyone who will listen — other survivors, or even potential perpetrators.
As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did. Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said “no,” silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a “no” as a “yes” is problematic at least, criminal at worst. That’s why education on this issue is so vital.
As a black woman raising brilliant, handsome, talented young black men, I am cognizant of my responsibility to them and their future. My husband and I stress the importance of their having to walk an even straighter line than their white counterparts. A lesson that is heartbreaking and infuriating, but mandatory in the world we live in. We have spent countless hours focused on manners, education, the perils of drugs. We teach them about stranger-danger and making good choices. But recently I’ve become aware that we must speak to our children about boundaries between the sexes. And what it means to not be a danger to someone else.
Nate Parker now looks to salvage his career and forge ahead in the entertainment industry with this new web series. While Baselines is still in its infancy, Parker and his team are reportedly casting for the series now and look to begin filming this week.