On the evening of February 26, 2012, 17-year old Trayvon Martin was shot in the heart and killed by George Zimmerman. On April 11,2012, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder. A jury of 6 women, none of whom are Black, acquitted Zimmerman on July 13, 2013.
“Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” is a 6-part documentary series that premieres on Monday, July 30, 2018 on Paramount and BET.
Co-directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason interviewed more than 100 people for the series, with twenty-some sources in Sanford alone. They employed an investigative team that included a former New York Times journalist and interviewed friends of Zimmerman, experts on the origins of Black Lives Matter; and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which helped identify how the case was discussed in white supremacist chat rooms and message boards. Read the rest of this entry
On August 9th, 2014 an unarmed 18-year-old named Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson, MO Officer Darren Wilson. Michael’s death became viral news and sparked protests for him worldwide. Mike’s death also sparked a great deal of division and controversy. Ferguson looked like a police state with the presence of the National Guard.
Sometime ago, I remember seeing on Twitter about the discovery of another video of Mike Brown in the convenience store. I also remember various criticisms of the video and of the person who released it, even one that said the man who released the video was trying to promote his “book”.
As a blogger who has followed cases, I will tell anyone that it’s very difficult to convey in writing what is on video. It is more difficult when what the video shows is being disputed. Videos need to be presented in order for eyes to see. As a journalism professor once told our class, “Show. Don’t tell.”
The documentary Stranger Fruit, shows. That doesn’t only apply to an additional video not released to the public during investigations into Mike’s death. It also applies throughout the various interviews. It shows what is being discussed. Read the rest of this entry
While waiting on the next trial, or some good news to report about civil cases that I can blog about, I’ve been watching more movies than usual. The other night, I came upon a HBO documentary titled Valentine Road. It was released in 2013. It was deemed an Academy Award worthy documentary film by Marta Cunningham, a Black woman. The HBO description of the movie does not give it justice, but it peeked my interest enough to want to watch it.
USA Today praised the film as: “Haunting, heartfelt and even handed.” It recommended that “Valentine Road be required viewing in teaching tolerance on middle school and high school campuses.”
Indeed, it has. GLSEN, and the Museum of Tolerance use the film as an educational tool for school administrations.
After watching Valentine Road, I think it should also be required viewing for everyone interested in how jurors use their personal feelings, biases, and hypocritical double standards, to hang or acquit defendants in spite of evidence.
In 2008 after reading an article by the Southern Poverty Law Center about the case, Marta Cunningham embedded herself in the blue collar community of Oxnard, California. From 350 hours of footage, Cunningham packs profound interviews and information into an 89-minute documentary. Read the rest of this entry
At Sundance, the premier independent film festival, the documentary titled 3 ½ Minutes will take the screen in Utah. Minette Nelson wanted to document a story that would continue the discussion on race and gun violence with a focus on Florida, but she wanted a story that was not as well-known as the Trayvon Martin story. Her son told her about Jordan Davis. She read everything she could about the killing and mailed Ron Davis, Jordan’s father, in April 2013.
“My letter stated that I felt that Jordan’s case could be exemplary of what is wrong with post-racial society in America and that Jordan was no different from my son. Thirdly, that if there had been no gun in the equation, Jordan would’ve gone home safely to his bed that night.”
The 2013 festival’s award for best cinematography went to Marc Silver for the film, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” Marc Singer directed “3 ½ Minutes.” He has a promotion for the film on his website.
“I am 17-years-old, black, love rap music, eat Skittles, drink iced tea, have posted photos of myself on the internet with my middle finger up, hat turned backwards, pants sagging and I wear hoodies. Those things do not define me. “I am an award-winning filmmaker, Emmy-winning voice-over actor, public speaker, education activist, scholar, author, athlete, a well-spoken and God fearing young man from a solid middle class family. I am Trayvon; I am the future of America so why would anyone want to kill me?”
This sets the tone for Jordan Coleman’s documentary film titled “I Am Trayvon.”
Jordan Coleman is a freshman studying film making at American University in Washington, D.C. He was recently named one the 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives by Children’s Health magazine, and debuted his first documentary “Say It Loud” in 2008.