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Dimitrios Kambouris

'When They See Us' Actor Joshua Jackson Talks White America's Blind Spots

'When They See Us' premieres May 31 on Netflix.

In April 1989, five black and brown boys were accused of viciously beating and raping a 28-year-old white woman in New York City's Central Park. The teens — Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — would later be known as the Central Park 5 or the "wolf pack" who callously attacked the victim and left her for dead.

All five boys maintained their innocence, however, with little resources and coerced videotape confessions by the police, they were tried and convicted, spending about seven years in juvenile prison. Korey Wise, who was 16 at the time and the oldest of the group, was sent to Rikers Island where he spent 14 ferocious years enduring countless physical attacks. He often spent time in solitary confinement just for safety.

Wise had a chance encounter with Matias Reyes, the real attacker in prison, which resulted in the group's 2002 acquittal, and later a $40 million settlement from the city.  Now, Ava DuVerny is bringing the story back to the forefront, this time from a new perspective: theirs. In the Netflix original four-part series, When They See Us, DuVernay chronicles their lives as teens all the way to adulthood, how the arrests and case affected them and their families, and the media and justice system's lust to convict five black and brown boys by any means.

Joshua Jackson, who plays attorney Mickey Joseph, along with co-stars Christopher Jackson and Blair Underwood were on hand to discuss the film's weighty issues. Sitting inside New York's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, directly (and ironically) across from Trump Towers (Donald Trump took out full-page editorials in four New York papers calling for the boy's execution) the 39-year-old spoke candidly about how easy it is for white America to not know.

"It is so easy to be blind as a white man, white person, inside of this society, to the constant drumbeat of oppression against [black] skin," Jackson said.

The actor, most recently known for his role in Showtime's The Affair, said as a white adolescent later an adult he was afforded a grace young black boys and men aren't given. "I remember the shift of being a suspect young man to 'I'm in my twenties now and I can pass by a bunch of cops and they can give me the head nod and smile, and that's new,' and then frankly success and fame changes that as well."

VIBE spoke with Jackson about the film and he candidly admitted the privileges white America has that he's now more aware of.

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A Wendy Williams Biopic Is Coming To Lifetime

Wendy Williams is getting the film treatment. The 55-year-old talk show host has signed on to executive produce a forthcoming biopic detailing the “highs and lows” of her life and career, the cable network announced in a news release Tuesday (July 23).

The film, from Will Packer Media, begins production this fall and is scheduled to debut in 2020. The biopic will be coupled alongside a documentary on Williams’ life, produced by Entertainment One and Creature Films.

Williams has a long-standing relationship with Lifetime having produced a 2014 Aaliyah biopic that was widely panned by viewers and fans of the late singer, but became a ratings hit for the network.

Besides the Williams biopic, Lifetime announced a slate of new productions including Surviving R. Kelly: The Aftermath a follow-up documentary featuring interviews with “new survivors, psychologists and experts on the case, and more insights into the ever-growing saga of the R&B singer.”

The network is also set to release Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, a documentary centered around the billionaire New York financier, who is currently locked up on accusations of child sex-trafficking and other sex crimes, and his ability to “hide in plain site while enablers protected him for over two decades.” Epstein was arrested last month, and recently denied bail.

In addition, Lifetime greenlit the two-hour film, College Admissions Scandal, based off the bombshell story that involved actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, and multiple other wealthy families accused of using illegal tactics to get their children into top schools.

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Cynthia Erivo Follows The North Star To Freedom In The Trailer For 'Harriet'

Former slave turned abolitionist and hero, Harriet Tubman is getting her cinematic just do in the forthcoming Focus Features film appropriately titled Harriet.

Cynthia Ervio weathered a few storms when it was announced she was cast to play Tubman. The 32-year-old Tony award-winning actress is from the United Kingdom and some naysayers felt that a black American actress should've been cast in the role.

The backlash surrounding Ervio fell to the waist side and has since been silenced after the trailer for Harriet was released Tuesday (July 23).

Alongside Janelle Monae and Leslie Odom Jr, the two-minute clip opens with Ervio running just before sunset, through the night and using the north star as her guide.

"I don't know if you know how extraordinary this is, but you have made it 100 miles to freedom all by yourself."

Once she gets north, she changes her name and decides to go back to save more. "If I'm free my family should be too," Harriet says. "I made up my mind. I'm going back."

Determined and strong-willed, Harriet Tubman journeys back to save as many men and women as she can often coming close to danger and death. "I will give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead."

Watch the trailer for Harriet below.

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Tiffany Haddish To Host Stand-Up Comedy Series On Netflix

Tiffany Haddish and Netflix will present a series of stand up specials titled Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready, premiering Aug. 13. The streaming service categorizes the content as "raunchy, witty, and irreverent."

The actress and comedian posted the news on her Instagram account and introduced her close friends and comics who will be featured for her executive-produced program. "I'm here with my full-on squad... they're my people," Haddish said. "Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready coming only on Netflix August 13th. You better check it out because they ready!"

Chaunté Wayans (Wild n' Out), April Macie (Last Comic Standing), Tracey Ashley (The Last O.G.), Aida Rodriguez (Comedy Central's This Week at the Comedy Cellar), Flame Monroe (Def Comedy Jam), and Marlo Williams (BET's Comicview) are a few of the up-and-coming acts and industry veterans to be featured in the series.

Rolling Stone reports that Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz will also serve as executive producers. The title comes as a spin-off of Haddish's 2017 Showtime special Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From Hood to Hollywood.

Netflix announced in March that the Girls Trip breakout actress would stamp her mark on the streaming service with what they call "a bold collection of hilarious half-hour stand-up specials" according to Forbes. 

 

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I am super excited about “They Ready “ make sure you check it out August 13 only on Netflix @netflixisajoke

A post shared by Tiffany Haddish (@tiffanyhaddish) on Jul 23, 2019 at 6:58am PDT

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