Beyoncé has denied reports that she is set to star in a new film depicting a woman who appeared in freak shows in the 1800s.
Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman was paraded in exhibits under the name Hottentot Venus and was made a spectacle across Europe, particularly England and Paris for her voluptuous shape. She died in 1815 at the age of 26 but did not receive a proper burial in her native South Africa until 2002.
“Beyoncé is in no way tied to this project,” a spokesperson told Billboard in a statement. “This is an important story that should be told, however.”
Jack Devnarain, chairman of the South African Guild of Actors, echoed Beyoncé’s sentiment, adding: “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. 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.”
Beyoncé has previously appeared in Austin Powers In Goldmember, 2009 stalker thriller Obsessed, and the 2006 musical drama Dreamgirls, for which she landed two Golden Globe nominations. She also directed and starred in the 2013 HBO documentary about her life called Life Is But a Dream.
Last month, Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said that she wanted to be as good a President as Beyoncé is a pop star. She said: “You see her [Beyoncé] on TV, it’s impressive. You see her in person, you’re just stunned. Thinking like, how does she do that? Really. I mean, she sings, she’s up, she’s down. It’s just amazing. So it’s just not in my astrological reading, I think”.
Clinton continued: “So I want to be as good a president as Beyoncé is a performer.”