Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, a Netflix limited series telling the true story of the wrongly-accused New York City teenagers now known as the Exonerated Five, garnered 16 nominations at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
Interestingly, on Emmy night, the series’ supporters were overjoyed to see Jharrel Jerome win Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie – including the real men portrayed on screen.
Jerome, a New York City native from the Bronx, swept his mother up in a giant hug when his name was announced. Amid cheers, the camera cut to Korey Wise, Antron McCay, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, who were pressured into falsely confessing to a Central Park rape in 1989.
Though eventually exonerated, the five Black and Latino teenagers spent much of their adult lives serving time. Jerome played Korey Wise, who was then the eldest of the accused at 16 years old and thus served his time as an adult in the corrections system.
After thanking his parents and team, Jerome took a moment to celebrate the real men behind When They See Us. He said;
Most importantly, this is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five.
Watch the tear-jerking speech in the video below;
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