Part 1 of Jay-Z’s Six Part Trayvon Martin Documentary Airs Tonight
This month marks 5 years since the painful case of Trayvon Martin occured where the verdict acquitting neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman of second degree murder. It took 16 hours of deliberation over the course of 2 days immediately being followed up with protests and riots in the streets over the decision. It’s a story that has caused President Obama to weigh in saying if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin, debates about Trayvon’s background, upbringing, whether his mother was milking his death and all types of craziness occurred during that time. Personally I tried to avoid any social media discussions about the issue because all I remember were people saying what black people should do to avoid getting shot including not wearing hoodies in neighborhoods they didn’t live in, to speak when spoken to… it was insane.
Rapper Jay Z has now decided to chime in by executive producing Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story alongside Paramount directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason airing tonight on BET and the Paramount network. Jay Z purchased the rights to Trayvon’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton’s book last year and worked on the project in conjunction with the Weinstein Company. Despite the Weinstein Company going bankrupt due to sexual assault allegations, the project thankfully was still able to be completely but not without legal action. Jay Z has said if it turns out not to be any good, he’s responsible.
One person who isn’t happy about the film is George Zimmerman. He threatened to beat Jay Z up if he came to Florida messing with him. Apparently he wasn’t too happy about crew members asking to speak to his family. In fact, his exact words were “I know how to handle people who f–k with me,” Zimmerman said Saturday, crassly adding “I have since February 2012.” He claims Jay and fellow executive producer Michael Gesparro were harrassing his family and that “anyone who f—s with my parents will be fed to an alligator.” Now that doesn’t sound like the words of an innocent man does it? And neither have all his other legal run ins since along with however many times he beat up his girlfriend including swinging a wine bottle at her and nearly getting charged with aggravated assault over it.. or breaking a glass coffee table of hers but who’s counting? Rapper Snoop Dogg did have this to say about Zimmerman, “If one hair on jays hair is touched that’s when the revolution will b televised,” Snoop Dogg wrote. “We one, and to thank the system, let the Bitch ass muthaf–a get away with murder try it again. Trayvon Martin Gone but not forgotten.”
The director Jenner Furst found working with Jay Z a pleasure saying “Jay is a very thoughtful collaborator and he understands the importance of all the legwork that goes into making a film like this. We were grateful that Jay had the faith in us to hit the ground and investigate this. I think it’s a testament to his sophistication as an artist that he understands how these projects work. He’s an incredible partner, and we’re very grateful to have him onboard.”
There were over 100 interviews, tons of never before seen footage, audio recordings, court depositions and the whole nine yards. “We’re very thorough,” said Furst. “Our approach to storytelling is based on characters. In the end, people don’t learn from statistics and headlines, they learn from human connection.” No such connection was made with Zimmerman which as we stated earlier threatened to throw Jay Z to the alligators so that’s to be expected.
Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin said in an interview “It was important for us as parents to get our side of the story out. We thought it was important that the story get told from the two people who knew Trayvon best.” “You can never get redemption when you’ve suffered a loss of this magnitude,” said Martin. “I think that by us being vocal and not letting Trayvon’s name be erased from the fabric of America, the little redemption that we’re getting is that we’re keeping his name relevant.”
There is a fundamental lesson to be learned from this story. When you choose to go after someone to engage them in a fight when they were doing nothing to you, don’t start anything you can’t finish. It didn’t have to result in Zimmerman shooting Trayvon. Also, the fact that he Zimmerman didn’t think he looked like he lived in the neighborhood was none of his concern. So however Trayvon defended himself as he was originally minding his business was justifiable.
Glitzers, Rest In Power: the Trayvon Martin Story airs tonight at 10pm ET on BET. Watch the official trailer below:
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