Watch: Yance Ford Tackles Grief and Racial Injustice in the Moving Documentary Strong Island

The Root 100The Root 100: Celebrating Black Excellence, 10 Years and Counting

Filmmaker Yance Ford’s film Strong Island is a must-watch on Netflix. The documentary tells the story of the Ford family and how their lives were forever altered by the shooting death of Yance’s older brother, William, in 1992. He was killed by a white man in the Long Island, N.Y., hamlet of Central Islip, where Yance’s parents had moved to raise a family. Stunningly, the case never went to trial after being reviewed by a grand jury.


The director, who is an honoree of The Root 100 this year, stopped by our office to discuss this unfortunate trend among black families in this country, why we should be allowed to grieve and not be so quick to forgive, and why this is not an investigation story but more about the tragic after-effects of injustice on families.

Video Producer @ The Root

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



“There is power in saying that”—thanks so much for interviewing Yance and providing another platform for him to tell his family’s story. He’s right, there is power in not allowing the dominant society to reframe us. I have often wondered how the families of Black people murdered by racial violence continue on with their lives, and I totally appreciate Yance stating this is not Black people forgiving white folks story and his referencing the coded language that is propagated by the media. Since when is a 5'8" regular sized man “a big guy?” I watched this film a few weeks ago and it was powerful and different, I’m so sorry the Ford family lost William and never received justice they deserve.