Netflix's new show, Seven Seconds gets straight to the bullseye of police brutality and the racism in this country.
Created by Veena Sud, Seven Seconds is an anthology crime series that explores how Jersey City as a whole responds to a young Black boy who's killed by a cop. The British actress, Clare-Hope Ashitey plays KJ Harper, an attorney tasked to prosecute the case.
Ashitey's intense portrayal sheds light on the American criminal justice system, which also shares similarities with the United Kingdom's.
"Like the U.S., racial bias and discrimination seem to be built into the fabric of many of our public institutions in the U.K.," Ashitey told ESSENCE.
"Black people are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, Black and minority ethnic groups are over-represented in the prison population and they are under-represented in our parliament (though it’s currently at its most diverse) and in our boardrooms."
Despite the disparity, the 30-year-old British-Ghanaian hopes that sharing these narratives of injustice will affect policy.
"However far we’ve come, there’s still an enormous amount of progress to be made in both countries and around the world. Seven Seconds tells a specific story, from multiple perspectives of diverse community members in New Jersey. The hope of telling any story is that it will prompt some sort of productive discussion."
The show brings out passionate performances from Regina King, Russell Hornsby, Raúl Castillo and Nadia Alexander who are caught in a web of lies and corruption to shield from the injustice committed. While the topic is heavy, it's a necessary conversation for families on both sides of the conversation — both Black and white.
"With issues like this, every story and every experience is valid," Ashitey said.
"Even if one narrative bears resemblance to another, each brings something new to the discussion. I think there is a world in which a proliferation of cultural output that deals with similar stories is a good thing; it reflects the real and lived experiences of a great many African Americans."
Real, soul-stirring and honest —just the right cultural output the world needs right now.