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Photo via OkayAfrica's 100 Women.

Focus Features Has Set Production on Harriet Tubman Biopic Starring Cynthia Erivo

The cast for the film directed by Kasi Lemmons has also been rounded out.

The opportunity to see the story of legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the big screen will be even more of a reality soon, Deadline reports.

Focus Features has set production on Harriet, which will star Nigerian-British powerhouse Cynthia Erivo, who's set to play the title role. The film will be directed by Kasi Lemmons, who co-wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard.

The cast has been rounded out as well, as Erivo will be joined by Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Clarke Peters.

Harriet will portray Tubman's escape from slavery and her several missions to free dozens of enslaved people through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.


"This is the story of a seemingly powerless woman who accomplished the extraordinary to save her loved ones, and in the process became a leader of and inspiration for her people," producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg say to Deadline. "While Harriet Tubman is a household name, most people don't know the breadth of her story—not only was she a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but she was a spy for the Union army and remains one of the few women to have led an armed expedition in US history."

We caught up with Erivo, who's also an OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree, in a video interview last year, where she touches on the role when the news was fresh:

"I am going to be playing Harriet Tubman in the biopic which is still something that I'm trying to process. I've been learning about her and found out that she's 4 foot 11 [inches]...and she was incredibly, physically very, very strong. Those things are [what] will inform how I'll play her."

Watch the insightful clip in full below.

Production starts next month in Virginia. Focus Features will handle global distribution of the film with Universal Pictures International.

Shadow and Act also notes that when the film was first announced, MACRO was on one of the backers of the film with Charles D. King as an executive producer. This is no longer, though Chase, Lundberg and Howard will still be the original producers.

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Photo courtesy of @sahraisha

#BlackOutEid​: Young Black Muslims Shine as They Celebrate Eid

Young Black Muslims have found creative ways to celebrate community and share their best Eid looks, even as they #StayAtHome.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim fam! Today marks Eid al-Fitr, the official end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite things being a little different this year (on account of the current pandemic, of course) this hasn't stopped many from finding creative ways to fast, pray and connect with their community during these times. It certainly hasn't stopped young Black Muslims from participating in the virtual tradition known as #BlackOutEid while they continue to #StayAtHome.

#BlackOutEid is an annual celebration which highlights the diversity within the Muslim world. It began in 2015, when Aamina Mohamed created the hashtag to combat the erasure of Black people within the community. Since then, the hashtag has been used across social media with Black Muslims using it to share their sharpest Eid looks.

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