If Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries, When They See Us, aims to show the infuriating ways in which the boys known as the Central Park Five were silenced by the prejudices of the justice system, a new special hosted by Oprah Winfrey gives them the chance to speak for themselves. Oprah Winfrey Presents When They See Us Now will release simultaneously on Netflix and the OWN channel on June 12 and will give audiences a chance to hear about the events chronicled in When They See Us from the men who lived them.
The special will feature an extended discussion between Winfrey and the five men now known as the “Exonerated Five”: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. Though this is their first interview with Winfrey—who is also an executive producer of the miniseries—she has long shown interest in the story; an April 2002 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine featured an interview with Trisha Meili, then known only under the moniker “Central Park Jogger.”
Asked to reflect on the cycle of injustice and racism that has shaped their experience, Richardson, whose faulty conviction resulted in him spending his teenage years in prison, reflects that “30 years later, not too many things have changed,” and credits DuVernay’s series with providing a platform to “start the conversation now to make sure there will never be another Central Park Five.”