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Yaya Alafia '00 (formerly DaCosta and Johnson) stars alongside Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels' The Butler, currently in theaters.

[caption id="attachment_595" align="aligncenter" width="200"]yaya-dacosta-butler-0823-art Yaya Alafia in "The Butler"[/caption]

The film, loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, follows African-American Cecil Gaines' 34-year tenure as a butler at the White House.

Alafia portrays Carol Hammie, the girlfriend of one of Gaines' sons and a member of the Black Panthers. She spoke with Essence.com about making the film:
It was intense. There were times where [filming] was very emotional. There’s a scene where actors in Klu Klux Klan outfits were shaking a bus we were on and screaming the N-word. When the director called cut it was so loud that they didn’t hear it, so it went on and on. It was very intense. The bridge that the bus parked on was the go-to place for lynching in this town that we were shooting at. And the energy of that was very palpable. It’s recent history. It wasn’t that long ago, so sometimes it did feel very real and uncomfortable but then you remind yourself that it’s only a movie and we can go back to our hotel rooms after this. The real freedom fighters went back day after day and kept sitting in, kept riding the buses and sometimes didn’t make it out alive, much less be able to shake it off afterwards. So it really encouraged even more gratitude for these heroes than we already had.

View trailers for The Butler here.

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