5 Black Men React to Netflix's When They See Us, Ava DuVernay's Series About the Central Park Five

On May 31, Netflix released the Ava DuVernay-helmed miniseries, When They See Us, which delves into the case of the Central Park Five, the five black and brown boys who were convicted in 1990 in both the media and the courtroom for a crime they didn’t commit. In 2002, they were exonerated after the actual perpetrator of the crime came forward. The series tells the story through the eyes of the boys as they grew into men and emerge back into a society that attempted to throw them away.

It’s impossible to watch the series and not have some strong feelings about what happened to the boys. It’s angering, saddening, frustrating and infuriating at the same time. It is also impossible to watch it and not want to discuss the larger societal themes and whether or not we believe the system would do the same today.


In partnership with Netflix, we convened a group of black men in both the media and activist spaces to discuss our feelings about the case, the series and where we are today. Joined by Mouse Jones, Jerry Barrow, Zellie Imani and Julian Mitchell, we discuss, at length, just how the series and story impacted each of us. Watch the full video above.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


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