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Ava DuVernay on When They See Us and How the Press Failed the Central Park Five

There are few things more difficult to watch than the abuse, mistreatment and manipulation of innocent young black and brown people.

In her four-part Netflix series, When They See Us, award-winning director Ava DuVernay takes us into the story of the Central Park Five—a case that had the media in a frenzy in the late 1980s and 1990s. In over five hours, DuVernay introduces the audience to the boys’ lives, their hobbies, and their loves, but perhaps most importantly, DuVernay calls the five boys by their names: Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Kevin Richardson.


DuVernay and her team take on the responsibility of telling the story of the black and brown men, who were eventually exonerated in 2002, humanizing them after they were so horribly vilified by the vitriolic press.

“We have so much joy as black people, but there is pain there, there is trauma there, and it is unjust. And we have to keep telling these stories, we have to keep reminding ourselves where we’ve come from, so we can make sure that we know where we’re going,” said DuVernay.


See our interview with the acclaimed filmmaker in the video above.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.


When did the press become this benevolent society whose only purpose is to right the worlds wrongs? Newspapers, television news and even web based news groups survive by selling advertising. They price that advertising based on circulation, viewers and clicks. Just because the 1st Amendment gives them freedom from government intrusion doesn’t mean they have any obligation not to whip the public into a frenzy to help increase circulation, viewers or clicks.