Russell Westbrook wants to help tell the real-life story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, an infamous episode in which white mobs burned and destroyed an affluent Black area in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street. Next year will mark the 100-year anniversary of the event.
The NBA star has partnered with production company Blackfin for a docuseries called “Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street.” Westbrook will wear an executive producer hat for the project, which will be directed and produced by Stanley Nelson.
“It’s upsetting that the atrocities that transpired then are still so relevant today,” said Westbrook in a statement, who learned about the massacre while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, before playing for the Houston Rockets. “It’s important we uncover the buried stories of African Americans in this country. We must amplify them now more than ever if we want to create change moving forward.”
The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre happened from May 31 of that year to June 1. About 300 people were killed, 90 percent of them being Black, and thousands of Black people were displaced. There were also 35 city blocks and 600 Black businesses destroyed, including a hospital. The attack has been called the worst case of racial violence in U.S. history.
Blackfin and Westbrook’s docuseries is just one project that’s coming out about the massacre.
LeBron James is crafting a documentary under his company SpringHill Entertainment that will be directed by Salima Koroma. In another project, writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton is working with Cineflix Productions on a limited documentary about Black Wall Street, which she’ll direct.
The announcement of Westbrook’s involvement with the Blackfin project comes amid continued protests for racial justice that have taken place since George Floyd died in the custody of a former Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day.
Westbrook, who’s from Long Beach, California, helped to lead a Black Lives Matter protest in Compton, California, on June 7, also attended by San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
“Continue to fight for one another,” said Westbrook at the protest. “Continue to lift each other up. … Continue to protect your own, protect your team, protect your family. In times like this we need to stick together. Put a fist up.”