'When They See Us'

Film / TVRace

ava duvernay’s gripping “central park five” trailer

March 4, 2019
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We’ve heard the stories about the five Black teenagers wrongfully prosecuted in the assault, rape and sodomy of 28-year-old Trisha Meili, who was jogging in Central Park on the 19th of April, 1989. Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise were named the “Central Park Five” and now award-winning director and activist Ava DuVernay just released the first trailer for When They See Us, the Netflix limited four-part series that will finally explore the racist and malicious persecution and prosecution of those five boys.

The hyper-sexualization and violence projected onto Black boys and men resulted in the inhumane lynching crowds of the Jim Crow era – that legacy forced these five Black boys to bear the brunt of the racist backlash for the assault of a white woman. Duvernay is taking this harrowing tale and shining a spotlight on Raymond, Kevin, Antron, Yusef and Korey, giving power to their voices after serving between 6 and 13 years for a crime they did not commit.

The power of the entertainment industry to open up to Black stories is the power it gives the Black community to go back, reshape and undo harmful narratives. This is empowering because we never had the capability to debunk these alleged stories against the might of an influential, racist media and law machine. That machine still chugs on but our stories have begun to peel away the layers to show the racist mechanisms meant to lock Black people up for simply being Black. Getting to watch history retold through the visionary lens of DuVernay is a gift befitting a community whose stories are still disrespected to this day (hey Green Book).

When They See Us drops on May 31, 2019 on Netflix and we’re ready to get to witness the real story of Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef and Kevin.