Quibi released #FreeRayshawn as part of its inaugural slate of originals when the mobile video site launched earlier this year. The powerful shortform drama, which picked up three Emmy nominations last month, has no shortage of heart-pumping action as a wronged Black man takes on a police department that framed him.
In a fret, Rayshawn, played by Stephan James, barricades himself, along with his wife Tyisha (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and their 5-year-old son, as a SWAT team stands outside ready to use whatever means necessary to take him into custody. The only one who is willing to listen and offer help is Lt. Steven Poincy (Laurence Fishburne), a seasoned cop with a sordid past.
“This story is so powerful,” said Fishburne, who was joined by fellow Emmy-nominated castmates James and Jones and Deadline’s Contenders TV. “The telling of this story is so necessary, unfortunately, at this moment, and it reflects so much of what’s going on in our country today.”
Indeed, the show contains a number of themes that are relevant in the current discussions that are taking place surrounding racial injustice within the legal system, which was the draw for the actors.
“You always want to be a part of something that reflects the times and use your artistry to help make the world a better place, and this is one of those pieces,” said Jones.
From executive producer Antoine Fuqua, #FreeRayshawn is not only entertaining but also in its own way, pays tribute to those who have fallen victim to a system in dire need of reform.
“For me, Rayshawn is this fictitious character but all these characters are very representative people, human beings. A man who is a father, is a husband, is a war veteran, somebody who served his country,” James said. “So I think you get to see the colors that really exist inside these people. And I think that that’s pretty much our job is to give these people a level of debt and give them the level of humanity, to make them relatable and understandable.”
Check out the video above, and click here to watch all of Sunday’s Contenders TV panels.
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