Race relations have always been an issue in America. The government has even tried to control who you’re allowed to marry based on the pigmentation of one’s skin. In 1967, Supreme Court Case Loving vs. Virginia garnered nationwide attention when the court ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiffs (interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving); banning laws that at the time prohibited mixed-race marriages in 16 states.
Since then, things aren’t as segregated, but the turbulent history of this country still permeates through its wide sidewalk cracks. More than 50 years later, we’re still fighting against police brutality, advocating for Black Lives Matter while, simultaneously, desperately battling against white supremacy. Throughout all of this, we’re trying to find love, but sometimes even that’s hard.
A new five-part web series titled LIBERTY written and produced by actress Reese Antoinette places a magnifying glass on that same conundrum the Lovings had more than 50 years ago, with a modern twist. Antoinette plays Liberty, an African-American college freshman who battles being in an interracial relationship with a white young man, Paul Giordano, (Alexander Pepper). Amid their love story, there is familial troubles and society listing all of the reasons why they shouldn’t be together.
The series takes place in New York City’s Staten Island, where racism is still prevalent, and communities of color are often segregated from the borough’s upscale south side. “I wanted to write a love story, a story about two modern-day young people who love each other despite their family’s disapproval,” Reese explained. “The story takes place on Staten Island because racism is prevalent here, but this story is common in many cities across America.”
“I wanted to give life to the two perspectives and create a dialogue around what happens when we don’t talk about the divide,” she continued. “When we ignore all of the socio-economic issues that have contributed to the America that young people are trying to survive in today.”
LIBERTY premieres March 1 on YouTube.