AceShowbiz - Cynthia Erivo has shut down critics who opposed her casting slavery hero Harriet Tubman because she's British.
The actress fronts the movie, "Harriet", about the activist who fled a slave plantation before returning 19 times, helping at least 70 others to freedom via the "underground railway" - the network of secret routes that enabled their escape.
However, Erivo has come under fire by critics who claim British actors are taking prestige African American roles, but the star isn't letting that ruin her moment.
"Before I'm British, I'm a black woman," she told The Guardian. "The first things people see are the colour of my skin and my sex. That's how I have lived my whole life."
Furthermore, she added that, as a first-generation African, she's no less entitled to take on the role than other African performers.
"My mother came from Nigeria, so that is very much my culture as well. I have seen people insult my mother for being from where she is from, and I've been insulted for that," the "Widows" star added. "All I can do as an actor is to tell the story. That's my job."
While the actress has been generating Oscar buzz for her role in the movie, she told Variety the emotionally-taxing experience led to her suffering a mental and physical "breakdown."
"Harriet" was released Friday, November 22.