entertainment

Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ Explores The True Story Of The Injustices Against Black And Brown Boys

People love True Crime. They get their fix from documentaries, feature films, novels, TV shows, and podcasts. On May 31, True Crime fanatics will be in for a treat. A new Netflix series directed by the incomparable Ava DuVernay. “When They See Us” isn’t just a series and it’s not just a “who done it” kind of plot. The film is the real story about how the justice system robbed the lives of innocent men of color to solve a rape case. It’s a story about discrimination, a racist judicial system, and how the victims of it mirror what continues to happen in criminal justice.

“When They See Us” shows how the lives of Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Kharey Wise were torn apart after they were found guilty of raping a woman in 1989.

The story begins with a tragedy. A 28-year-old female investment banker was jogging in Central Park in Manhattan around 9 p.m. Trisha Meili, the victim who disclosed her identity in 2003, was brutally raped and left for dead. Around 1 a.m. she was found naked in the park. Medics took Meili to the hospital where she suffered from severe hypothermia, severe brain damage, hemorrhagic shock, and lost 80 percent of her blood. She also had internal bleeding and suffered skull fractures — 21 fractures in total. She remained in a coma for 12 days. When she came to, she could not remember anything about her attack.

The young men, who were all under 16 years of age, were in the park that night with another group and were taken into police custody for unruly gathering.

When police found out that the body of the woman had been discovered in the park that same night, that she had been raped and was in the hospital, detectives immediately suspected the young men as the assailants.

Without having any evidence, detectives — at least two of them were Latino — accused the five boys of the crime and lied to them by saying they had proof that they did it.

Police told the five boys that if they admitted to doing the crime, they would be released and allowed to go home.

Throughout the evening, the family of the boys was lied to about the events that were going on in the integration room. Everyone honestly thought that police were going to release them because that’s what they said they were going to do.

The only thing the boys had to do was confess to the crime. However, because the boys didn’t know what they were confessing to, or the details of the victims, the police fed them the information in order to record the confession from them in their own voice.

“When They See Us” not only explores the injustices by the New York Police department but the racist assumptions by the public and the media.

If you’re not familiar with the entire story, we won’t give any spoilers but know that this story isn’t as black and white as you may think. It’s a complex topic that goes way beyond these five boys and shows in detail how men of color are presumed guilty simply because of their social status and economic background.

The mini series premieres May 31 on Netflix. Here’s a trailer.

As 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Wraps Up Its 11th Season, Let's Have A Well Deserved Moment Of Silence For Miss Shuga Cain

Entertainment

As ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Wraps Up Its 11th Season, Let’s Have A Well Deserved Moment Of Silence For Miss Shuga Cain

missshugacain / Instagram

Reality television can be cruel for both contestants and fans. Sometimes our favorite faces leave way too early, and we are left wanting to get to know them a bit better. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has both broken and lifted our spirits for almost a decade and this 11th season has not been the exception.

One of the most beloved queens of recent times has been Suga Cain, the curvaceous and salacious diva who makes strong political statements (yes, she went there and dressed like President Donald Trump, as you will see in images below). She has entertained us with her unique style. She came in 7th in the season, but in our hearts, she is a true winner.

Jesus Martinez is the man behind the elegant and vivacious queen Miss Shuga Cain.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

One of the best things about Shuga Cain’s Instagram is the fact that we get to see both facets of her life: a proud gay man and a professional and sparkly queen with tons of creativity. 

And that boy sure packs some serious muscles.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Jesus, miren a Jesus! Martinez is a consummate sportsman, a triathlete who runs-bikes-swims to compete with the best. This certainly gives Miss Shuga Cain the required strength for all those acrobatic dances she has delighted us with. 

He is also in love with this handsome bear, her partner Gilbert Gaona.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Ay, madre santa, son tan lindos. Look at these two, Jesus and his fiancé Gilbert in the City of Lights, Paris, enjoying some much-needed couple time. This photo is so cliche, but we love it. Que sean felices por los siglos de los siglos y amen. 

Gilbert is ultra supportive so, of course, we love him already.

Credit: cgilbertrun / Instagram

We love Gilbert’s Instagram almost as much as we love Shuga’s! Here, he shows his support for su corazoncito and captures the pride and flashiness of queer culture.

But what does Shuga Cain even mean?

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

The origin of the stage name is threefold. First ingredient: sugar, of course, as she loves all things candy and baking. Second ingredient: the character Shug Avery from the novel “The Color Purple”(if you only watched the Steven Spielberg film that’s OK, we give you a pass). Third ingredient: the performance artist Candis Cayne. 

Jesus had a corporate job that he quit to become Shuga Cain.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Sometimes you have to let go of your current life and really shake your life to the core if you want to pursue your dreams, and that is exactly what Jesus did to deliver this ravaging queen.

It only took her 18 months to succeed as a drag queen.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

A mere year and a half after Jesus quit his six-figure pay, Shuga Cain was already a fixture in the very competitive New York drag queen circuit. Dreams don’t wait for you, do they?

Her secret weapon: opera and performance theater and she slayyyys.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

We can really see the influence that performance artist Candis Cayne has had on Shuga: her style is based in opera-like extravaganza and out-there outfits that verge on the sublime.

Jesus has Latin American and Native American heritage making his drag super poignant and doubly beautiful.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

She is as proudly Brown as it gets! Some of her outfits speak of her ancestral roots in the land that is now the United States of America. Her papito is from El Salvador and her mamita is Spanish and Native American (Apache) from New Mexico.

She’s a Cali girl!

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That’s right: she might have made her name in the Big Apple, but her freshness and onstage dorky attitude scream California. She was born in the town of Magalia, a small town in the forest. How cute!

Her elimination was, and is still, very controversial.

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It happened in episode 10 when she was sent home by Vanessa Vanjie Mateo. Fans of the show immediately became keyboard warriors and blamed the producers, arguing that they wanted to send her home because they always saw her as a filler contestant. 

Of course, Shuga Cain didn’t remain quiet.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

That thing of calladita te ves mas bonita didn’t apply for Miss Cain, who has been very vocal about the unfairness of her elimination. She has been supported by fans. Will we see her return in a future All-Stars? 

She has one of the best entrance quotes in “RuPaul’s Drag Race” history.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

“Get ready y’all, cause this sugar is so sweet!” Ay, mamacita divina.

 She is 41-year-old, which makes her older than many contestants of the show but she is just as graceful and energetic as the younger queens.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

That is right, she was born in 1977. One of her most memorable quotes is “I can be your grandmother, girl.” She said that to Plastique Tiara, referring to her age. She also said: “Do I have to really say 40?” Te amamos, reinita chula de preciosa

Her farewell message was tender and supportive even if the elimination was crap.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

And we quote: “You all hold a very special place in my heart. Make Nana proud ♡ Shuga.” Can we even love her more? 

You can feel Shuga Cain’s Scorpio energy.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

She is only the third Scorpio on the show and the first since season 5. Maybe being outspoken played against her? Was it the stars that aligned in her detriment? We should ask Walter. 

She’s an incredibly self-sufficient entrepreneur.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

After her fame skyrocketed she created her website, https://www.shugssweetshop.com/, where you can book her for a show and buy licensed products. Maybe this is only the beginning of her American Dream.

We cannot forget about the time Shuga Cain became Charo for the Snatch Game.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Shuga Cain often makes veiled references to popular culture. Her Snatch Game look as Charo was a revelation of monumental proportions. We still think about it because it was just so damn good.

She performs all around the world, as a true queen should.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Montreal, Vienna, Toronto… Miss Shuga Cain is everywhere, and perhaps her elimination encouraged her to be a globetrotter. Wanna check out if she will be in your city soon, here are her tour details

She wears her age as a badge of honor.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

She told Jezebel:  “I’ve had all these years to build all these incredible skills as a person, as an actor, and as an artist. I mean, it’s still scary, and I still go through it. But like I feel like I’m better able to handle the stresses of what it is, and I know how to behave and how to act.”

Did we say she has a Master’s degree in opera?

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Many were surprised by the fact that she was chosen in only her second try, but the fact is that she has been performing since she was a little boy. She has a higher degree in opera, so turning life into theatrical experiences is nothing new to her.

Here’s a cute funny picture of her to wrap this up because we could keep going.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

Those Snapchat filters really suit her! ❤️

OK, last picture, we promise.

Credit: missshugacain / Instagram

And what about this homage to She-Ra, a queer symbol like any other? We just can’t get enough sugar, can we?

READ: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Fans Have Serious Questions About Shuga Cain’s Unjust Elimination

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