NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dubbed the new “civil rights movement”, #BlackLivesMatter launched a transformative grassroots movement that moved from social media to the streets across America. As news and images of the senseless deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Grey and others spread online, a new generation of civil rights activists came together demanding institutional change. From scheduled marches, to assembled sit-ins and to heated rallies across the country, protesters and communities pushed the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter into a worldwide rallying cry. This is the real story of brave young people who have found their voice to lead a powerful social movement. Now these activists face the daunting challenge of turning protest - into lasting change. Directed and produced by Laurens Grant (Black Panthers - Vanguard of the Revolution) and executive produced by actor/activist Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) the BET original documentary STAY WOKE: THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT,” will have its broadcast premiere on Thursday, May 26 at 9 PM ET/PT.
“I'm personally inspired by the people that construct today's movement and we so easily forget that movements are not magic, they are led by people, often making great sacrifice. I wanted to lift up not only their voices but their experiences, and catalog this place and time. The movement for Black lives is claiming its place in history by building the future it knows we damn well deserve.” said Executive Producer Jesse Williams, “We can make progress with gratitude, all the while demanding more of ourselves and humanity.”
“While there is no easy answer on how to address or solve the systemic issues of race and justice across our nation, we have a commitment to bringing these conversations and stories of social change to light through platforms like our ‘Truth Series’. BET is determined to encourage meaningful dialogue that galvanizes change.” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks.
Directed by Peabody and three time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Laurens Grant, “STAY WOKE: THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT,” chronicles the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement through the first person accounts of local activists, protesters, scholars, journalists and celebrities including Jesse Williams, Nelly, Deray McKesson, Michaela Angela Davis, Wesley Lowery, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett and others.
KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR on the Black Lives Matter movement:
“The Black Lives Matter movement is the most important development in black life in the last 40 years and the most important aspect of it is that it’s ordinary people fighting this fight. It is something that we have been responsible for getting out onto the streets and I think the movement is here to stay.”
ALICIA GARZA on where the inspiration to #BlackLivesMatter came from:
“Many people were trying to make sense of what happened, but I felt like the ways that people were trying to make sense of what happened and what we needed to be doing about it were actually destructive… and so I wrote a letter to black people on Facebook saying that there was nothing wrong with us and we deserved dignity and respect.”
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS on the death of Trayvon Martin:
“Trayvon Martin was that tragedy that broke us open. He was our Emmett Till but there was no one around with a Twitter account around Emmett Till to tell what really happened, right, but there is now.”
JESSE WILLIAMS on the creation of #BlackLivesMatter:
“The moment was electric. Black Lives Matter was a brilliantly framed set of marching orders-slash-slogan-slash-plea. Young black people, they are plugged in and they’re moving.”
DERAY MCKESSON on running for Mayor of Baltimore:
“So I am running for Mayor in Baltimore because we need to implement changes on the inside. It’s about concrete things that can happen at the policy level to structurally end police violence.”
“STAY WOKE: THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES,” is executive produced by Jesse Williams and produced & directed by Laurens Grant.
Launched in July 2015, BET’s The Truth Series features original documentary films, directed by award-winning filmmakers that showcase stories about the African-American experience. The 2015 BET Truth Series documentary film ALI: The People’s Champ was recently honored with the 2015 NAACP Image Award for best documentary and Katrina 10 Years Later: Through Hell and High Water was awarded the 2016 NAMIC Vision Award for best documentary film.
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About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.