Laurence Fishburne has never shied away from projects that tackle race in America, from School Daze to Boyz n the Hood to Black-ish. And his newest series is a perfect fit as the Black Lives Matter movement addresses police violence across the country.
Fishburne stars in the new Quibi series #FreeRayshawn, which follows Rayshawn, played by up and coming actor Stephan James, as an accused man whose difficult pathway to exoneration hinges upon placing his trust in Lt. Steven Poincy (Fishburne).
Fishburne’s performance earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
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The 59-year-old told The New York Daily News about the series and the character Rayshawn, “Sadly, it’s a story that we’re all too familiar with… It humanizes him and his family, and hopefully that translates to all of these lives that have been senselessly lost.”
He continued, “George Floyd is somebody’s dad. George Floyd is somebody’s brother, just like Rayshawn. Rayshawn is George Floyd. He is Tamir Rice. He represents Breonna Taylor. He represents all these people. Ahmaud Arbery, and this young man who’s just been shot seven times in Kenosha.”
Fishburne also hopes a project let #FreeRayshawn could assist in creating change “I have a desire to see things change. Doing this kind of work is my effort to try and help create a space for that change.”
The two-time Emmy winner also added, “I’m very, very encouraged by what I’m seeing in terms of the millions of voices, people that are coming together to say that we really need to change things in this country, that we really need to deal with these issues that stem from systemic racism. Police brutality against African-American people and people of color is one of the most visible and tragic symptoms of it, but there are so many other ways in which it works, and it’s to the detriment of our country as a whole. I’m just encouraged by what I’m seeing.”
#FreeRayShawn can be streamed now at Quibi, a new short-form mobile video platform.
(Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage)