Last night, BET premiered the latest documentary in their award-winning Truth Series.
And it was painful.
Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement chronicled the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, dubbed the new “civil rights movement”, from the accounts of activists, protesters, and supporters.
The hour-long special opened with audio from George Zimmerman’s call to the Sanford Police Department on the night he followed Trayvon Martin, through their gated community in Florida. That fatal night started an uprising.
“I personally got obsessed with watching the Zimmerman trial. I was at a bar and I knew that the verdict was due because everything went silent,” said Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. “When I saw that George Zimmerman had been acquitted I felt like I had been punched in the gut…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.“
Patrisse Cullors came across that Facebook hours later–responding with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter– which spread through Twitter like rapid-fire, begging the question “is this a moment or a movement?”
Assembling images, clips, and social media messages surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, Michael Brown, Freddie Grey the documentary hauls us back to the chaos of uncertainty, anger, loss and keeps fresh the need to come together and demand change.
Activist and Grey’s Anatomy actor, Jesse Williams serves as both executive producer and star of the documentary.
Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter documentary is available to view on BET. Sign in with your cable provider to watch now.