Director Ava DuVernay released the trailer for her latest project — “When They See Us,” a four-part Netflix series that tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem, New York, who were wrongly convicted of raping a female jogger in 1989 — via Twitter on Friday.
The series, which is set to be released May 31, will span 25 years — beginning when Anton McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise were first questioned by police. According to a Netflix press release, it will underscore the men’s exoneration in 2002 and the settlement they reached with New York City in 2014.
Though the men were dubbed by the media as the “Central Park Five,” DuVernay, who co-wrote and directed the project, said she was intentional about not referring to them by that shorthand moniker in the series’ title.
“Korey, Anton, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system,” DuVernay said in a statement. “We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.”
Not thugs. Not wilding. Not criminals. Not even the Central Park Five. They are Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef, Kevin. They are millions of young people of color who are blamed, judged and accused on sight. May 31. A film in four parts about who they really are. WHEN THEY SEE US. pic.twitter.com/QQBVqo4TYM
“When They See Us” stars Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood and Christopher Jackson, among others. Oprah Winfrey, Robert DeNiro and others will be executive-producing the series alongside DuVernay.