In an interview with Shadow and Act during the Toronto International Film Festival, Cynthia Erivo responded to the recently resurfaced tweets that have followed throughout the press run for Harriet, the biopic based on the life of Harriet Tubman starring Erivo in the titular role.

"I would say it took a lot of hard work to get to this place [of playing Harriet Tubman] and I didn't take it lightly," Erivo said. "I love this woman and I love Black people full stop. It would do me no service, it would be like hating myself." 

Erivo, who is British, came under fire for tweets from 2013 which appeared to be mocking black Americans. Given that Tubman is a prominent historical figure in American history, people felt like an actress with a less controversial former social media presence should have portrayed her. 

"As for the tweets, taken out of context without giving me the room to tell you what it meant--and it wasn’t mocking anyone really," Erivo said. "It wasn’t for that purpose at all. It was to celebrate a song I had wrote when I was 16." She previously spoke about the controversy at TIFF where she proclaimed that she has "never spoken negatively about people." 

"I would never…I’ve never spoken negatively about people because I don’t want that, I don’t want that energy from me to others, Erivo said. "I don’t believe that serves us at all, I don’t believe it serves a purpose other than bringing negativity into my life and your life and I just don’t want that."