Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor leaves restaurant with Old Mississippi Confederate Flag

Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor leaves restaurant with Old Mississippi Confederate Flag
Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor knows her state's terrible past. The Mississippi native knows it well and can criticize it for others.

Ellis-Taylor told Indie Wire that she left a Hattiesburg, Mississippi eatery after spotting the Old Mississippi Confederate flag on a wall.

“I wanted some catfish,” said the “Origin” star, who protested the flag, which symbolizes white supremacy and Mississippi's Civil War glory. People reported that the banner was the only U.S. state flag to include the Confederate battle flag until 2021.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a measure in 2020 to remove and replace the contentious flag. After asking the cashier about the retired flag at the restaurant, Ellis-Taylor said they “just tried to evade any culpability.”

“I said, ‘You have Black people in this restaurant now who are eating your food, working in this restaurant, and you have the Confederacy and Ku Klux Klan flags on your walls.’ Two Black males ate under the flag. Ellis-Tate said he left and had to buy catfish elsewhere.

Ellis-Taylor remembers while promoting her current film, “Origin.” Based on Isabel Wilkerson's 2020 non-fiction book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Ava DuVernay's film explores prejudice symbols and more.

Ellis-Taylor was raised in Mississippi, a state with a history of slavery, segregation, and anti-Black prejudice.

“I come from a culture that wants to redact people who look like me from the history books,” the 54-year-old “King Richard” Oscar candidate told individuals. “I will right that wrong,”

Ellis-Taylor wants to lend her abilities to films like “Origin,” her closest work to her principles.

"This time, this moment, we must look at what we are doing to each other," she added.

The situation is not unique to America. The experience is enormous, expansive, cross-cultural, and time-spanning. Knowing our Indian and Jewish roots gives us greater courage to combat those forces that maintain those differences in place.”

In “Origin,” DuVernay combined Wilkerson's biography with her research regarding the links between American racism, Nazi persecution of European Jews, and Indian Dalits.

“I think it is brave creatively, I think it is brave in its message, I think it confronts things in a way that is innovative,” Ellis-Taylor told People. I hope everything I did was ‘Origin,’ strove to reach its heights.”

She chuckles, “that’s not the case.” Working in Hollywood, she remarked, “Sometimes you've got to pay the rent, you've got to pay the mortgage — as Halle Berry so famously said, and Gabrielle Union co-signed on that.”

In addition to positive reviews and awards season hype, “Origin” addressed long-standing concerns that have separated people. Ellis-Taylor says Wilkerson “is a builder of bridges, of tearing down these social divisions that are so fraudulent and stupid.”
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