Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch (born in 1976) is British. He is most famous for playing the Marvel comic character, Doctor Strange and the character Sherlock although he has a few other well-known movies under his belt too.
In 2006, Benedict appeared in the movie Amazing Grace. The movie was about slavery in the British empire and the attempt to abolish it. In 2014, he acted in another movie about slavery, 12 Years a Slave.
It was revealed that Benedict had a hidden agenda for choosing to act in these two movies with themes dealing with slavery.
In an article, he stated that he was sorry that his ancestors were involved in the slave trade implying that he chose to act in these movies as a way to make “amends” for their actions.
Benedict’s ancestor was actually his seventh great-grandfather, Abraham Parry Cumberbatch. Abraham was an estate owner in Barbados (1784 -1840). He owned 292 enslaved people according to the Center for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. He reportedly owned a sugar plantation in Barbados. Those types of plantations had a reputation for cruelty in the treatment of slaves.
The Cleland Plantation in St. Andrew, Barbados was the former home of the Cumberbatch family. When Britain abolished the slave trade, Abraham even received a large compensation from the British government for losing his slaves.
Centuries later, Abraham’s descendant, Benedict, became famous in Hollywood. Benedict’s parents were concerned that as he became famous, he would become a target of the descendants of the enslaved people seeking reparations.
So far, no one has targeted Benedict in that way although the descendants of the slaves are aware of Benedict’s fame. The actor has also acknowledged the unfortunate history of his ancestor.