'Rise Up' premiere coincides with 'Birth of a Nation' theatrical release
Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner

Nate Parker, the embattled filmmaker and star of the historical drama The Birth of a Nation, is bringing the story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion to the small screen as well.

Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner, a one-hour television special executive produced by Parker, will air Friday on National Geographic, the channel announced Wednesday.

The premiere coincides with the theatrical release of Birth of a Nation, a film that has been enveloped in controversy along with Parker himself since details about his 1999 rape case and acquittal recently resurfaced. In the past week, Parker has discussed the case on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and The Steve Harvey Show.

Rise Up is hosted by the actor Roger Guenveur Smith, who also appears in Birth of a Nation. The documentary will outline the history of enslaved people in Virginia and explore the culture Turner was born into, lived in, and revolted against. Participants in the special include academics Kelley Fanto Deetz, Alfred Brophy, and Sarah Roth, and Turner descendants Evelyn Sykes Hawkins and Vivian Claude Lucas.

“Nat Turner left a lasting legacy that continues to resonate with Americans today,” Parker said in the announcement. “Working on this documentary allowed us to give the public the background knowledge of who Turner was and why his rebellion has left such a lasting impact on our country.”

Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner premieres Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.

Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner
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