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Colorlines recently reported on a British supermarket, Sainsbury’s, who has taken an interesting approach to advertising the movie, “12 Years A Slave.” Aside from the general display of a graphic from the movie and the movie title, the store also decided to dress a mannequin in the clothes worn by the main character Solomon Northrup.
The clothing is a beige, loose-fitting shirt with holes in it along with a pair of black trousers. The store even decided to add the extra touch of placing a twig in the front pocket of the shirt. What some may find even more offensive is the fact that the price of the movie is hung on a sign from the mannequin’s neck. While some may see this as the purely innocent display of the movie’s cost, rope around a neck is to reminiscent of lynching for some people’s taste.
The movie ’12 Years A Slave,’ is the autobiographical story of a free man, Solomon Northrup, who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery to work on plantations in Louisiana. Directed by Steve McQueen, the movie won widespread critical acclaim, including three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. McQueen is the first black director or producer to ever receive the award for Best Picture. The film also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture in the Drama category and the British Academy of Film and Television and Arts awards for Best film and Best Actor. The movie was also a box office success, earning more than $178 million. One would think that any retail outlet could find a more tasteful way to honor the legacy of a man who fought so hard to regain his freedom and to honor a film that earned the respect of millions of people internationally.