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John Legend and Tika Sumpter Develop New Series for WGN

John Legend and Tika Sumpter Develop New Series for WGN

Looks like the success of WGN America’s Underground will uncover more of America’s already sinister history. Get Lifted Film Co., ran by John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorious has signed a deal for early development on Black Wall Street, Deadline reports. Expanding her resume, is Southside with You actress/producer Tika Sumpter as an executive producer.


The proposed series is based on one of the largest mass murders of African Americans in this nation’s history. On May 30,1921, an alleged incident between a young black man and white woman circulated among the city’s white community sparking a confrontation between black and white armed mobs.


For the next two days (May 31-June 1), white supremacy flamed Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, also known as the Greenwood district. The attack, carried out on the ground and by airstrikes, destroyed more than  35 blocks of the affluent district, which was the wealthiest black community in the nation.The tragic events killed an estimated 300 people mostly black, and left 10,000 people homeless.


An eyewitness account discovered in 2015, Greenwood attorney Buck Colbert Franklin describes watching more than a dozen airplanes drop burning balls of turpentine on the city’s rooftops, which none of the city’s fire stations responded. Franklin recalls wondering, “Is the city in conspiracy with the mob? Despite this being one of America’s most tragic events, it has been absent from local and state history books.

Archer at Greenwood looking norht, 1938

“We’re so excited to continue to grow our relationship with WGN America,” Get Lifted’s Mike Jackson told Deadline. “Our experience working with them on Underground has been fantastic,” he added. “Additionally we’re looking forward to working with our friend Tika Sumpter to help tell incredible story many people know nothing about.


The project is in development at this time, with a 2018 premiere date eyed, assuming all goes well.


Last year, Shadow & Act reported that the OWN Network has plans to develop a two-night mini-series tentatively titled, Tulsa, that Octavia Spencer is attached to star in. The series will tell the story of Mattie Clay (Spencer), a journalist from Tulsa, who moved to Chicago with the hopes of getting off the society pages and away from racism. Her journey eventually brings her back to Tulsa, around the time of the race riots.


As a Tulsa native, this news definitely hits home. Growing up in Tulsa, the Tulsa Race Riots was not something that one would learn in the white biased history books; it became prevalent for black students to learn of this dark past at home. Fortunately, social media has exposed Tulsa’s dark past, making black people from across the world aware of the Tulsa Race Riots. But middle-aged whites people mosey about with little to no knowledge of the tragic events. These two series are very intriguing projects and will shine a much need light on the events.




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