American abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth once said, “Where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter.” In the case of “Black Panther” actress Letitia Wright, there’s quite the uproar around allegations of her espousing anti-vaxx beliefs.
While tabloids and the mainstream media were quick to condemn Letitia Wright for allegedly believing “misinformation,” the better question is, why isn’t a successful young woman allowed to hold different beliefs? It’s not like she’s in a position to be legitimately advising others over matters of health and vaccination.
The Allegations against Letitia Wright
The allegations that Wright espoused such beliefs were brought up in an article by The Hollywood Reporter, which claimed, without evidence (citing an unnamed “set source”) that she espoused “anti-vaccine positions”: “A number of performers, from Rob Schneider to Letitia Wright have shared anti-vaccine positions on social media. In Wright’s case, a set source says she has espoused similar views about the Covid-19 vaccines on the Atlanta production. The British actress quietly parted ways with her entire U.S. team of representatives in the wake of a backlash over posting a controversial anti-vaccine video in December.”
Wright deleted her Twitter account after receiving backlash for sharing a video from a YouTube channel called On The Table (you can view the creator’s response here). Netizens accused Wright of not only being wrong, but also of being transphobic and irresponsible. Actor Don Cheadle called it “hot garbage” and said, “I would never defend anyone posting this.”
An unnamed set source claimed Letitia Wright espoused anti-vaccine positions.
Following the unfounded claims from The Hollywood Reporter, Wright took to Instagram to defend herself: “It saddens me to have to address the reports published by The Hollywood Reporter on October 6th 2021. The report spoke about my conduct on the set of black Panther 2. I honestly assert that this was completely untrue. Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I work incredibly hard at my craft & my main focus is always to do work that’s impactful and inspiring. That has been & will continue to be my only focus.” [sic]
Regardless of this, many publications are still criticizing her. It’s especially surprising to see because, on one hand of the progressive narrative, women are encouraged to have and celebrate their abortions (considered nothing more than a medical procedure by some activists), but if you dare question what’s simply in a vaccine that has just been rolled out not even a year ago (at the time of Wright’s sharing of the controversial video), that’s too far. That’s dangerous.
Why the Commotion?
It’s ridiculous for people to claim that someone’s opinion is dangerous. It’s one thing to believe something, and another to act on it. How you do that, should you choose to, is worth pausing and taking a look at. Did Wright hold up a line of individuals waiting to get vaccinated? Did she disguise herself as a nurse and administer saline instead of the vaccine to unsuspecting individuals?
With the amount of backlash she received you would think she actually did do something like that: something to hold people back from fulfilling a choice they made for themselves. But Wright did no such thing. She expressed a question, and perhaps some hesitancy, which honestly isn’t an unhealthy thing to do. The government isn’t guaranteed to act in the best interest of any constituent, and this is evident in historical events like the Tuskegee Experiment, where black male patients were thought to be in treatment for syphilis, but instead received placebos for decades so the researchers could study the progression of the disease.
Why is there such outrage over her expressing hesitancy or questioning what’s in something that the government wants to inject into everybody – whether it’s in their personal best interest or not?
Why is there outrage over her questioning what’s in something the government wants to inject into everybody?
There’s no clear answer. The federal government has been exceedingly passive when it comes to narratives that vilify the unvaccinated. Joe Biden himself has said the pandemic is the fault of every unvaccinated individual – anyone who has had Covid-19 before, anyone who is pregnant and refraining from taking new vaccines, anyone who can’t risk adverse effects from the vaccine lest they lose their career or livelihood, and anyone who may have a medical condition that renders the vaccine risky for them.
On September 24, President Biden said, "This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it's caused by the fact that despite Americans having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months, free vaccines have been available in 80,000 locations, we still have over 70 million Americans who have failed to get a single shot…In a country as large as ours, that 25% minority can cause an awful lot of damage. They are causing a lot of damage."
But there’s particular outrage against Letitia Wright over the allegations of her holding “controversial” beliefs. Other actors and actresses have expressed hesitancy towards vaccines in the past, such as Jessica Biel, Jim Carrey, and Robert DeNiro, yet that’s not being dug up and flung in their faces like it’s happening with Wright.
“We Want Strong Independent Women – Who Think Like We Want Them To”
It’s curious how there’s such outrage with Wright similar to how there was outrage with Nicki Minaj. Joy Reid accused Nicki of endangering people in the black community by telling people to not allow themselves to be bullied into taking a vaccine.
It seems as though women should only be empowered to express their beliefs if they align with the mainstream culture.
With all the narratives around black female empowerment – in entertainment, politics, and cultural discussion – it’s strange that both Nicki and Letitia were attacked for expressing a dissenting opinion. It seems as though women should only be empowered to express their beliefs if they align with the mainstream culture. But why?
Perhaps mainstream culture doesn’t advocate for women to freely be who they are, as it so adamantly claims. Maybe all they’re searching for is talking heads to push a narrative, an idea, to get what they want. Frankly, good on Letitia Wright for not conceding, as it’d be all too easy to say “yay” to a brand new vaccine and encourage everyone – without knowing their individual medical history – to get it. Regardless of this, it’s important for young women to note that they will be criticized for any belief that goes against the mainstream. So to hell with it, if it’s genuinely what you believe, after researching and questioning yourself every step of the way. How else are learning and discovery supposed to happen?
We want to know what you think about Evie! Take the official Evie reader survey.