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Emmett Till’s Legacy Will be Revisited with Three Projects in Development

Had he lived, Emmett Till would have turned 74 years old this weekend. Unfortunately, Till didn’t even make it out of his teens.

This year will mark 60 years since his life was ripped away in the most barbaric way imaginable. Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till, made a courageous decision to have an open casket funeral and forced the nation to confront the true face of Jim Crow.  Till’s murder was a national tragedy but it also formed an essential pillar for the civil rights movement.  It’s overdue but there’s a lot of momentum gathering on several Emmett Till projects in Hollywood, one of which just received a major boost.

According to Deadline, Jay Z and Will Smith have lent their considerable star power to an Emmett Till miniseries entering production at HBO.  The project is being described as an immersive look at Till’s life up to that point and the aftermath of his death.  While this Jay Z/Will Smith backed project is coming out of the gates strong, there are two other Emmett Till projects in varied states of development according to Variety.

One of the projects is called, The Face of Emmett Till.  The Skyland Pictures and FireRock Bay Pictures production is based on the play co-written by David Barr III and Mamie Till. The last project is spearheaded by Chaz Ebert, the widow of influential film critic Roger Ebert.  Her film will be based on the book, Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, a book co-written by Christopher Benson and Mamie Till.

Till’s martyrdom helped ignite the simmering embers of the civil rights movement. His murder is ingrained into the psyche of the American consciousness.  It put a human face on Black suffering, a child’s face on racism.  Mamie Till’s grief was on display for the entire world and she became the universal embodiment of every mother’s deepest fear.

Despite Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam’s heinous efforts, Emmett Till’s story didn’t stay dead.  Any project that reminds the world of these atrocities fueled by racism can only help.  As seen with Selma earlier this year, sometimes it takes the canvas of cinema or television to show the true significance of a major event that is often taken for granted in the annals of history.

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One thought on “Emmett Till’s Legacy Will be Revisited with Three Projects in Development

  1. I'm not too enthused about a Smith & Jay-Z produced film abut Emmett Till. I think what hollyweird is trying to do is get in front of this narrative and shape the story how they want to general public to view it. So I'm sure the fact that most whites in that town protected and rallied around those murderers and nationally, Look Magazine paid the murderers to basically give a blow-by-blow account of how they murdered him & dumped his body like trash. All for the salacious entertainment of their readers. I bet both those aspects will be downplayed or ignored. Both of these freaks died never having paid for their crimes. I also find it interesting that in light of all the recent ritual murders/lynchings happening of black men, women & children–they are revisiting this story but hollyweird won't ante up the money to finance Danny Glover's proposed movie about the Haitian Revolution. You see the narrative of us being perpetual, terrorized and frightened victims, that's a narrative they can get behind again and again–but victors and triumphers..nah, they are not financing THAT narrative. But black people can have the final say in what we support with our dollars. When two lawn jockeys and coons for hire are put forth as producers (of course with the blessings of their puppetmasters..same with Fela..Fela was historically against imperialism and get rent-a-coons, and you end up with a musical about his life..playing down the fact that the 'west' and their brokers HATED this man)..anyhoo, Till story can never be told too many times..I am just not interested in hearing it from the perspective of those who aided and abetted and ultimately protected his murderers. And why no docs about all these recent killings? No Trayvon? No Tamir?…they're still at it some 60 years later and we are still accepting it and burying our dead.

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