The day after Asante Ma’at graduated North Point High School on May 30, “When They See Us” debuted on Netflix.
The limited series tells the story of the Central Park 5 — five teens wrongfully convicted for the rape and assault on a female jogger April 19, 1989, in New York City’s Central Park.
Ma’at —professionally known as Asante Blackk — portrays Kevin Richardson, who was 14 when he was arrested and charged following a police investigation that at best could be called lacking and at worst be described as criminal. The five spent six to 13 years in prison. In 2001, DNA evidence linked another man — who later confessed — to the crime.
The critically acclaimed series received rave reviews, such as:
“In When They See Us, the Ava DuVernay–helmed miniseries now streaming on Netflix, the director lays out the all-too-common process by which the five black and Latino teens were convicted of a crime they did not commit. In rendering their journeys, DuVernay pays careful attention to the terrifying power of language, especially the animalistic rhetoric with which prosecutors and journalists referred to the teens,” Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic
“This is a lot of ground to cover, and DuVernay and her co-writers craft scenes that are horrifying, harrowing, upsetting and infuriating. There are also moments that feel forced or rushed, especially in the fourth episode. But even at its most flawed, “When They See Us” never loses sight of its thesis statement that Black and brown people are presumed guilty at all times, even by White liberals who pretend otherwise. It’s the same thinking that beget “superpredators” and harsher sentences across racial lines; the same thinking that allowed Dylann Roof to get a Whopper after murdering nine people, yet left Michael Brown laying dead in the street for hours. This series is not going to let you forget how the justice system and the press have failed—and continue to fail—people of color.” – Roger Ebert, Rogerebert.com
Now Blackk has been nominated for an Emmy, specifically Best Supporting Actor ina Limited Series or movie. The full list of nominees in this category are:
Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
- Asante Blackk (“When They See Us”)
- Paul Dano (“Escape at Dannemora”)
- John Leguizamo (“When They See Us”)
- Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”)
- Ben Whishaw (“A Very English Scandal”)
- Michael K. Williams (“When They See Us”)
The 2019 Emmy awards will air on Fox on September 23, 2019. You can read the original story on this here: