Cynthia Erivo Channels Her Inner Harriet Tubman in First Look Photos


February 6, 2019


Photo: Glen Wilson/Focus Features

During Black History Month 2017, it was announced that the incredibly talented Cynthia Erivo had been cast to play Harriet Tubman in MARCO and New Balloon’s feature film, ‘Harriet.’ And now, thanks to People, we have the first look at the award-winning singer entertainer as the iconic woman who helped lead hundreds of slaves to freedom. For Erivo, “it means a lot” to reveal her portrayal of Tubman during Black History Month. 


“It’s a new way of looking at Harriet. She was a hero, and now we get to really tell her story because we haven’t really heard her story. It’s been long overdue,” she shares with the magazine.

With Black History, there is always something new to learn, and Cynthia’s research and preparation, which included visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., led her to a new discovery.

“What surprised me the most about her — and it shouldn’t have really — was how much she loved John Tubman,” Cynthia shared with People. “That was the love of her life. And essentially, it was heartbreak that got her on the road to doing all the good things that she did. Most of us normally, if we find out we’ve been cheated on, we take a minute to wallow in self-pity. She did the complete opposite and decided that she was to help others.”  


Photo: Glen Wilson/Focus Features

The development of the film, which will depict Harriet Tubman’s life as a slave, abolitionist, nurse, spy, and Underground Railroad conductor, was first announced in 2016. Charles D. King, who became the first African American partner of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment before leaving to launch his own company in 2015, is one of its producers. King’s multicultural media company MACRO is also co-financing the project. 


With the biopic being directed by ‘Eve’s Bayou’ helmer Kasi Lemmons, the cast includes Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. and Jennifer Nettles. ‘Harriet’ is set to hit theaters later this year. 

Ready to connect you and your family to our historical legends this Black History Month and beyond? Check out our Because Of Them We Can subscription box for kids.

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