New Hollywood Podcast: Ava DuVernay Talks Impact Of ‘When They See Us’ And Using Art As Activism

By Dino-Ray Ramos, Amanda N'Duka

Ava DuVernay

The story of the Central Park 5 — now called the Exonerated 5 — is a part of American history that is difficult to consume and is, unfortunately, all too relevant to 2019 even though the events happened in 1989. Ava DuVernay painted an emotional, beautiful and cathartic story of the falsely accused Korey Wise, Raymond Santana Jr., Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray and Kevin Richardson in the Netflix limited series When They See Us.  Deadline’s New Hollywood Podcast took a field trip to DuVernay’s ARRAY campus and took dive into the journey in making the series.

When They See Us is a difficult watch. It will stir up feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment and even more anger and sadness — but it is necessary viewing as it is part of our history that shows the flaws of our justice system and our country in general. But ultimately, DuVernay manages to sew in a quiet thread of hope throughout When They See Us that makes for an ending that has a sense of emancipating release while lighting a fire in your belly to ignite change.

While we did unpack the emotional weight of When They See Us, we also talked about how DuVernay uses art as activism and brought some levity to the conversation including what movie she would want to remake with a cast of color and the ultimate debate: cake or pie. Listen to the episode below.

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