February 26, 2012 was a terrible, horrific night — a night that would ultimately spark one of the most talked-about shootings and civil rights situations in recent years. That night, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, and while Zimmerman was acquitted of the killing, Martin's status as an unwitting civil rights icon was cemented. Debates about racial profiling soon followed the tragedy, and there were multiple protests on either side of the case while it tied up Florida's legal system.
Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, wrote a book about their lost son, entitled Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin. Jay Z and the Weinstein Company acquired the rights to this and two other books inspired by the Trayvon Martin case: Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice And Why We Continue to Repeat It.
Suspicion Nation is told from the perspective of an NBC analyst who covered the George Zimmerman trial. In fact, it was written by Lisa Bloom, an attorney who covered the trial for NBC. Bloom also brought to the forefront a unique understanding of how high-profile cases can sometimes be mishandled by prosecutors. She is the daughter of high-powered attorney Gloria Allred, so if there's anyone who might bring an incisiveness to the analytical role required of taking apart a criminal trial, it's Bloom.
Suspicion Nation offers little in the way of insight into the #TrayvonMartin case, but rather seems to tear apart the job that Florida prosecutors did in trying to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he fired upon the unarmed teenager that night.
This will not be the first time that Jay Z has lent a social justice issue his heavy clout; the rapper is also a producer with The Kalief Browder Story, currently airing on Spike TV. The Kalief Browder Story is about Kalief Browder, a young man who took his life following several years spent in prison without ever having gone to trial for a crime he allegedly did not commit. Jay Z noted that it didn't matter at this point whether or not Browder had taken the backpack.
This is also not the first time that Trayvon Martin's story has been adapted for a screen. In One Dark Night, a virtual reality film about the shooting, director Nonny de la Peña used court records and 911 calls to recreate the events of February 26, 2012.
Singer Jason Derulo has already given Jay Z kudos for taking on a project that could be as sensitive as the story of Trayvon Martin.
As one might expect, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin are most concerned with preserving their late son's memory and legacy, and want to ensure that Jay Z and the Weinstein Company will do their utmost honor their son. Sybrina Fulton has had a prior association with Jay Z as well. The rapper and his wife, Beyonce, have attended rallies supporting Trayvon Martin and his family in the past.
There is no word yet as to when the film and docu-series will be hitting the screens.
What do you think of the news that Jay Z will be spearheading this documentary series and tackling the Trayvon Martin case?
(Sources: The LA Times)