After directing “13th”, Ava Duvernay has returned to Netflix to give viewers another great story. The highly acclaimed director aims to bring to Netflix viewers the story of the Central Park Five.
The Central Park Five will be a limited drama series that will air sometime in 2019. The series will center around the true story of five black teenage boys from Harlem: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. These young men were accused of raping a white woman who was jogging in the park in 1989. However, their trial and due process was less than fair. They faced confession coercion, incarceration without having a fair trial, and threats of execution. Losing years from their lives, these men ultimately lost their childhood and innocence as they struggled with an unjust system.
Unknown to many, the one leading the charge for the death penalty for these young men currently sits as President of the United States. In 1989, Donald Trump took it upon himself to put ads in the newspaper calling for the state to kill these young men for a crime they didn’t commit. He used the media to create and feed into a mob mentality, a tactic that is not unfamiliar in his present day administration. Although he didn’t have presidential power at the time, Trump used his money to gain power over the media, the public, and the lives of innocent men.
Trump’s involvement in the story of the Central Park Five is just one of the reasons why Ava Duvernay wants to create and direct this miniseries. She has previously worked on projects like Selma, Queen Sugar, A Wrinkle in Time, and 13th which have been met with glowing reviews and great feedback. When asked about her interest in the project and why she continued to pair with Netflix she stated:
“I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on ’13th’ and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there. The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn.”
Ultimately, the story of the Central Park Five is set for success. With Duvernay’s track record, she will definitely tell a story that is true, holistic, and interesting to watch.
– Amalachi Okpalanma