“Black Panther” actress Letitia Wright is being labeled as an anti-vaxxer after she retweeted a YouTube video that questioned the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
On Friday, the 27-year-old actress tweeted that she didn’t intend to hurt anyone by sharing the video.
Wright, who is Guyanese and raised in Britain, shared an hour-long video made by Tomi Arayomi, a self-described “prophet” and “Managing Director of Prophetic Voice TV – An online mission that seeks to restore the ability to hear the voice of God to every person on every sphere of influence.”
In the video, Arayomi openly stated that while he’s not a medical expert, he felt compelled to question the safety of the vaccine.
“I don’t understand vaccines medically, but I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic of them,” he said.
“We can just get that (the vaccine) out there and hope it doesn’t make extra limbs grow, hope to god you don’t develop children that have 11 fingers and 12 toes, we are hoping for the best. We have seen vaccines do damage before,” he continued.
The “Small Axe” actress tweeted a response that further angered her critics and some of her supporters.
“If you don’t conform to popular opinions, but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled,” she wrote.
The Emmy Award nominee added more fuel to the fire after she liked a tweet that called for her re-casting in the next installment of “Black Panther,” and a tweet that said the movie should be canceled.
She also liked tweets that discussed the history of racism in the medical field and others that opened up the floor to take up questions with medical authorities.
The controversy comes as the U.K. announced they would be the first to distribute a coronavirus vaccine in response to the increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths across the globe. Wright’s tweet falls in a sensitive timespan as health officials are desperately trying to convince Black communities that the vaccines are safe.
Pfizer claims their vaccine has a 95 percent effectiveness rate, while Moderna, a competing biotechnical company says their vaccine has an effectiveness rate over 94 percent.
Wright’s calling out points to a larger issue of how the Black community feels about our medical institutions which have rarely served us. Wright is also experiencing her first major public backlash, a hard lesson on the responsibilities of having a large platform as a celebrity with fame and access.
Many were upset over Wright’s choice to tweet this form of speculation after portraying Black characters with extensive power and knowledge in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). A large portion of her followers stated that Wright is only voicing the fears of Black people across the globe who have been historically subjugated against in the field of medicine.
Other’s brought up that Arayomi also spread transphobia in the video, somehow forcing a connection between questioning the coronavirus vaccine and the trans community.
To date, the coronavirus continues to disproportionately affect Black communities faced with inequalities accelerated by systemic racism and predisposed conditions.
Keep reading to see how people on social media were responding to Wright.
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