Entertainment

The Black And Latino Boys Documented In ‘Whey They See Us’ Weren’t The Only Ones Who Had Their Lives Ruined

By now, Netflix has found a way to produce TV shows that deal with often uncomfortable topics. From the “Ted Bundy Tapes,” which examines the sex appeal of a horrible serial killer, to “1994,” which discusses thorny issues in recent Mexican political history, the streaming giant has revisited historical events that have been mired in controversy.

The latest show to set the Internet of fire is “When They See Us,” a dramatizes retelling of the story of five POC young men who were wrongly incarcerated after the rape of Trisha Meili, a white woman who was attacked in the North Woods of Manhattan’s Central Park on April 19, 1989. Following the crimes, the city was put on alert and the police department was pressured into finding a culprit. And, of course, as was sort of expected, they found the face of evil in five teenagers of color (four Blacks and one Latino): Raymond Santana, 14; Kevin Richardson, 15; Antron McCray, 15; Yusef Salaam, 15; and 16-year-old Korey Wise. These five teenagers were deprived of their innocence and sent to a juvenile correctional facility on charges of rape, assault and related crimes in 1990. Korey, who was then just 16, was sent to adult prison. Needless to say, their lives were forever changed.

But surprise, surprise, they were not guilty, just as they had stated all along. In 2002 the real assailant confessed and DNA testing verified his guilt. The convictions were vacated. However, these men and their families had to rebuild their lives. Netflix has now financed and distributed a four-episode series that explores the social and psychological impact that the events had in the country (the case garnered a lot of media attention, and white supremacists saw the Central Park murder as a validation of sus ideas pendejas). The cast is testament of the talent of independent cinema and of people of color working in Hollywood:  Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Michael K. Williams, Logan Marshall-Green, Joshua Jackson, Blair Underwood, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, and Kylie Bunbury give life to this story.

The series, which was launched on May 31, has gotten a lot of attention and has caused all the feelings with viewers. 

People have headed to Twitter to express their anger and disgust.

Credit: @muz_nash / Twitter

The story of the Central Park Five often seems like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” One day you are a normal teenager minding your own business and the next you are being profiled at a police station and public figures want you dead.

The show is an indictment of a broken system.

Credit: @MrShahhh / Twitter

Rather than an isolated event, “When They See Us”is indicative of a judicial and prison system in which ethnic and racial minorities are disadvantaged. Just think about this, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2013 black males accounted for 37 percent of the total male prison population, white males 32 percent, and Hispanic males 22 percent. The figures of Black and Brown inmates just seem to be increasing.

What if the real assailant hadn’t come forward?

Credit: @Isiah_Barnes / Twitter

This Twitter user served us with a harsh truth: the only reason why the Central Park Five have been exonerated is the guilt that the real rapist and murderer felt. Can you imagine how many innocent men and women are wrongly imprisoned today?

“When They See Us”will make you cry and feel angry, and that is okay.

Credit: @ltz_Dasilva1 / Twitter

One of the great things about art is that by making us feel something, political action is often instigated. Many viewers have questioned the invulnerability of the system by watching this show. Let’s remember that this is a topic that Netflix has tackled before, particularly in the show “Orange is the New Black,” were Black, Brown and white identities are confronted in the prison industrial complex. 

Before we forget. Yes, Donald Trump, then a real estate magnate, did call for their execution.

Credit: 161007162257-trump-central-park-5-ad-super-tease.jpg. Digital image. CNN

The current POTUS paid an ad on New York’s most popular newspapers calling for the execution of the Central Park Five. This dramatically changed public perception of the young men, and their culpability was presumed. Trump spent $85,000 on these ads. Trump wrote: “At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless an dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and then laugh at her family’s anguish? I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them.” Damn.

The show is spearheaded by Ava DuVernay, a powerful female voice in Hollywood.

Credit: ava / Instagram

The show is the brainchild of Ava DuVernay, who has made a name for herself as a talented filmmaker who can at the same time deal with thorny issues regarding African-American history and create compelling, commercially viable movies. She directed the Golden Globe-nominated “Selma”and the Oscar-nominated documentary “13th.”

DuVernay is a power player in the industry, so “When They See Us”could get traction.

Credit: ava / Instagram

Ava has done what many consider still kind of impossible in Hollywood: she has established a name for herself even if she is a Black woman. Besides Shonda Rhimes, there are not many Black women who have made their voice heard in a white and male-dominated industry. We need more people like Ava and more shows like “When They See Us.”

The original title was “Central Park Five.”

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

We like the final title much better: it gives the show a bigger sense of universality. Also, Central Park Five centers on the trauma and not necessarily on the post-incarceration story of redemption. 

It is one of the highest ranked TV shows on Rotten Tomatoes.

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

The acclaim has been universal: it has a 94 percent Fresh score on the aggregated review site Rotten Tomatoes. Critics have highlighted the impact that the prosecution and journalists had in how the teens were seen by the public. Hannah Giorgis from The Atlantic wrote: In rendering their journeys, DuVernay pays careful attention to the terrifying power of language, especially the animalistic rhetoric with which prosecutors and journalists referred to the teens.” Ouch: this is still true for much of American media. 

There is an Oprah special, “Oprah Winfrey Presents When They See Us Now,” with the original five protagonists.

Credit: whentheyseeus / Instagram

You can see a bit here, but the full interview was released on Netflix and the Oprah Winfrey Network on June 12. In this interview, Oprah looks at their lives and raises questions about the system that allowed this to happen. How many more Black and Brown youth are suffering from similar injustices today? 

They are still good friends, brothers forever.

Credit: santanaraymond / Instagram

We can’t stop shedding a tear when we see this photo. Five men who keep positive even if innocence was taken away from them unexpectedly. How to be optimistic afterlife has dealt you the worst possible hand? Todo un ejemplo de actitud, caballeros.

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

The Trailer For ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’ Is A Pulse-Pounding Thriller You Need

Entertainment

The Trailer For ‘The Last Days Of American Crime’ Is A Pulse-Pounding Thriller You Need

Netflix / YouTube

Édgar Ramírez is one of the most handsome men in Hollywood, tbh. It helps that he is good at what he does as well. The Venezuelan actor and former journalist is in a new movie from Netflix called “The Last Days of American Crime.”

Imagine the story of the last crime ever committed in the U.S.

Netflix’s “The Last Days of American Crime” is a visual retelling of the famous graphic novel. The story is one of crime, big government, and action rolled into one film. Édgar Ramírez plays criminal Graham Bricke and he is after that proverbial last score before committing a crime in the U.S. becomes impossible.

The criminals in the movie are fighting against the implementation of a device the hinders criminals motionless. The device emits a sound that freezes them in their place preventing them from committing any crimes. Bricke experiences the device when robbing a bank and his brother dies.

The rest of the story is one of pursuing the ultimate final heist and getting revenge. The movie will leave you on the edge of your seat while you watch the criminals do everything in their power to make sure their last score is the best and most historic.

“The Last Days of American Crime” is out June 5 on Netflix.

Netflix has been delivering some stellar content with Latino actors in the leads. The trailer for “The Last Days of American Crime” promises a crime thriller with all of the emotional ups and downs you can handle.

READ: Edgar Ramirez Shocked Jimmy Fallon When He Shared Details From The Set Of ‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Entertainment

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Netflix

Just because it might seem as if the world is on pause, it doesn’t mean that our efforts to learn more about it and better ourselves should be.

Documentaries alongside biographies can teach us so much about the world we live in and open our eyes to its complexities, even teaching us about the obstacles we did not know were right in front of us. As women of color, there are so many, and often times we use documentaries to learn about them, so we can better understand how to propel ourselves forward and continue to succeed. To make sure that you do too, we’re rounding up documentaries for you to learn, grow, and build hope from while in quarantine.

Check the documentaries we’re binging now that we’ve got the time below!

Becoming (2020)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama takes an intimate look at her life, relationships, and dreams in this documentary which sees her touring the country while promoting her book Becoming. The New York Times describes the film as showing “a familiar, albeit more carefree, former first lady.”

AKA Jane Roe (2020)

This documentary by Nick McSweeney highlights Norma McCorvey, the woman who made history as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade. Beyond the shock value of the movie’s twist, which unearths the reasons why McCorvey ultimately turned her back on the movement that advocated for her right to choose, it tells a story about the ruthlessness of political agendas.

Abuelas: Grandmothers On A Mission (2013)

Three decades after Argentinean mothers created a movement demanding Argentinean officials to discover what happened with the sons and daughters who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War, the grandmothers continue their efforts in this documentary.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

The historical documentary follows Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm during her campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. It will serve as an impressive reminder of this Black woman’s might and the fight she managed to get us all passionate about.

Honeyland (2019)

This Oscar-nominated film is about a beekeeper in North Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov this documentary shows how the beekeeper’s life is affected when the ancient techniques she uses to farm bees are impacted by a new family who moves into the neighborhood and brings modern technology with them.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016)

African- American poet Maya Angelou has her life depicted in the documentary that dives into her traumatic childhood and her life as a singer and dancer. The first feature documentary includes interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and Common.

Knock Down The House (2019)

This documentary featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the league of women who ran for Congress in 2018 including Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela made waves when it first debuted on Netflix. Just as it did for us, we imagine it will give you a whole heck of a lot of hope and pride in the woman who fight for our rights and country.