Ava DuVernay sat down with NBC recently to speak on her hopes surrounding the upcoming Netflix docuseries When They See Us. The show relies heavily on the real-life story of the Central Park Five youth, who are now adults, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana. The aforementioned individuals were accused at the ages of 14 to 16 years old of brutally beating and sexually assaulting a female jogger in Central Park. Following a gruesome 25-year journey, the men involved, who were wrongfully incarcerated, fought for the ability to overturn their conviction and thanks to DuVernay, their stories will now be shared with the world.
The four-episode drama, When They See Us, was both directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay, whose notable works include the Academy-Award nominated documentary 13th (2016) and Selma (2017). DuVernay considerably has a successful streak when it comes to telling the usually untold stories of Black & Brown folks, while both including them and sharing their diverse narratives. In reference to the upcoming documentary, the filmmaker shared: “The story of formerly incarcerated people in this country is one that’s little told. It’s not told enough.”
Furthermore, while the boys were let off much later after the real person behind the crime was found, yet they never got an apology. As such, the series was made to reveal the atrocities underlying wrongful incarcerations and sadly relates to the same fate many experiences today. To note, “people of color make up 37 percent of the U.S. population but 67 percent of the prison population, and black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men” according to The Sentencing Project. Hence, stories like these play a significant role in shedding light on such devastating issues.