Jay Z and Will Smith to Produce HBO Miniseries

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Jay Z and Will Smith are producing another film project together, according to reports. The two first worked together to produce the 2014 Annie remake, and now they are reportedly working on a miniseries about Emmett Till. The miniseries will broadcast on HBO, and it will chronicle the brutal murder of the 14-year old teenager in 1955. Till was allegedly flirting with a white woman, and he was murdered by the woman’s husband and his half-brother in Mississippi. Both men were found not guilty of the killing Till, but they later confessed to killing the teenager. The law doesn’t allow for one to be tried again for a crime he or she is found not guilty of, and so the men never served time for the brutal murder.

Till’s death became a power symbol in the Civil Rights Movement. His mother, Mamie Till, requested a public open casket funeral so that the nation could see how gruesome the killing was. Images of the young Till lying in the casket were published in several black magazines and newspapers in the US. Till’s face and body were dismembered and mutilated, and his own mother couldn’t even identify him. The fact that Till was never properly identified strongly affected the trial, and some people doubted the body in the casket was Till’s. In 2004, the US Department of Justice reopened the case and exhumed and autopsied the body- which resulted in a positive identification that it was Emmett Till.

The Civil Rights Movement aimed to end racial segregation and discrimination against black Americans. Today, black Americans are still fighting against discrimination and police brutality seems to be at the forefront of the injustices. Most recently, a woman by the name of Sandra Bland was unlawfully arrested in Texas. Bland was initially pulled over for failing to use her turn signal while she was switching lanes. Bland explained to the police officer that she quickly switched lanes because she was trying to get out of his way. The traffic stop escalated, and Bland was arrested by the officer for assaulting a public servant. The story has gained national attention, and those who watched the video surveillance of Bland’s encounter with the police officer are still wondering why she was ever arrested.

Bland was found unconscious in her jail cell three days after she was arrested, and she was pronounced dead on July 13th. Even though the first autopsy suggests Bland committed suicide, those who know Bland do not believe she took her life. Funeral services for Sandra Bland were held today on July 25th. Bland’s family and friends are hopeful justice will prevail and there will be answers regarding how an unnecessary traffic stop ended in the tragic death of Sandra Bland.

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