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How American Crime Story Reflects the Black Lives Matter Movement

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson – Pictured: Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson. CR: FX, Fox 21 TVS, FXPPremieres on FX, early 2016
Photo: FX

Twenty years ago, football superstar O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. FX’s upcoming, 10-episode event series, American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, chronicles the events of that trial and contextualizes the racial tensions surrounding it. At a post-screening lunch celebrating the show, Vulture caught up with Jeffrey Toobin, a consultant on the miniseries who wrote the book it was based on, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and recently called the show a “ten-hour trailer for Black Lives Matter.” “The theme of this series is how African-Americans and whites experience the facts of this case differently,” he explained to Vulture. “It was true 20 years ago, but it’s still true today. And, I think that feels very contemporary.”

Courtney B. Vance who plays lawyer Johnny Cochran, a.k.a., if the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit, is interested in the conversation he believes the show will start in America about how different perspectives can inform dramatically different viewpoints. “I look at this series as an opportunity … but the problem is that we keep missing this opportunity,” he said. White and black folks and other races need to communicate — more importantly, we need to do a better job of understanding each other. But you never know if society is in the mood to listen.” Cuba Gooding Jr. is also optimistic. “A project like this can help society because it shines a light on people’s frustrations. Hopefully, people will feel like they are being heard, and they won’t go out and act out on those frustrations,” he said. “So I hope these 10 episodes are a step in the right direction.”

How American Crime Story Reflects BLM