The National Geographic Channel announced on Wednesday, April 19, that it will collaborate with the Weinstein Company and rapper and businessman Jay Z -- whose actual name is Shawn Corey Carter -- to produce Race, a six-part documentary series that will offer “a stark and provocative look into systemic injustices in America.”
“National Geographic and Jay Z are the world’s foremost storytellers in their own right, and we’re thrilled to be working with them on such an evocative and meaningful project,” liberal donor and Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.
According to an article by Breitbart's Jerome Hudson, “the project will feature first-person perspectives from a diverse group of Americans on pressing political issues, including criminal justice, economic inequality and immigration reform, as well as how those issues have been affected in the wake of the presidential election.”
Carter “is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, having sold more than 100 million records, while receiving 21 Grammy Awards for his music,” Hudson noted.
“By using highly cinematic storytelling techniques, along with Jay Z’s singular point of view, the series will tell a dramatic, thought-provoking story on race in America,” added Weinstein, an American film producer and studio executive best known as co-founder of the successful Miramax company.
“Race marks the rap mogul’s third documentary project with TWC,” Hudson stated. Their earlier collaborations include Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which premiered March 1 on the Spike cable television channel, and Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, which was purchased by the Paramount Network earlier this month.
“The Carter-Weinstein project will weave together documentary, animation and archival footage” and “will delve into crime and punishment, wealth inequality, the role of social media, activism and family,” according to an article by Joe Otterson, a TV reporter for Variety.
Present-day stories will be captured via footage of a diverse mix of people from all walks of life in cities across America, from immigrants to first-generation Americans and beyond,” Otterson stated.
In an article by Brent Lake and Justin Kroll, Carter and the Weinstein Company have acquired the rights to two books: Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It and Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, which will be used as the source material for the forthcoming onscreen adaptations.
Suspicion Nation was written by civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom and details her experience covering Zimmerman’s trial for NBC News. Rest in Power was authored by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and offers “an intimate look into his life and the impact of his death.”
In February of 2012, 17-year-old Martin was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida, when he got into an altercation with self-described neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who shot and killed the Florida teen in what a court later agreed was an act of self-defense.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Carter and his wife, Beyonce, joined Rev. Al Sharpton and Trayvon Martin’s mother for a protest rally in Harlem in mid-July.
Later that day, Carter joined fellow musician Justin Timberlake in dedicating a song to Martin during a concert in New York City.
A few days later, he joined a boycott of Florida with Kanye West, Madonna and the Rolling Stones in an effort begun by music legend Stevie Wonder.
Not surprisingly, when the jury acquitted George Zimmerman, Carter slammed the ruling and called it an example of “blatant racism.”
Also on Wednesday, news anchor Katie Couric signed on to provide a six-part documentary she will produce and narrate for National Geographic Studios.
Currently untitled, the series will “follow Couric as she talks with leaders who are shaping the most pivotal, contentious and oftentimes confusing topics across the globe today.”
“Right now, we’re undergoing massive, transformational change in almost every area of our lives; change that can be dizzying and scary,” said Couric.
“While we’re inundated with information virtually every minute, I’m excited to step back, connect the dots and look at the big picture so we can better understand the world we live in and our place in it,” she noted.
“And I couldn’t be more excited to have National Geographic as my partner on this journey,” Couric stated.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Couric has produced two documentaries, one entitled Fed Up that slammed the food and sugar industry for helping cause obesity and the second called Under the Gun, which attempted to blast the firearms industry and resulted in her apologizing for an inaccurate editing in the documentary.