Taraji P. Henson revealed yesterday while speaking about her latest film, Proud Mary, that her production company TPH Productions is set to produce a movie based on the life of Emmett Till. She will not only produce the film, but also star as his mother, Mamie Till. The movie will be directed by John Singleton.
“We don’t have a start date yet, but the deal has been done,” Henson tells Global Grind. “That’s one that I have been passionate about that one since Trayvon Martin was murdered.”
Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American high school student, was shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 in Sanford Florida where Trayvon was visiting his relatives. Zimmerman was initially charged with Trayvon’s murder, but was acquitted at the trial, attributing the shooting to self-defense.
As the Black Lives Matter movement draws attention to systemic racism and police brutality towards people of color, TPH Productions does too with Emmett Till’s tragic story.
In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till, 14-year-old black boy, talked to 21-year old white woman Carolyn Bryant in her grocery store. For this, he was tortured, beaten, and shot to death. His suspected killers were acquitted by an all-white jury in just over an hour. Mamie Till insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket in Chicago, drawing attention to the injustice, brutality, and limitations of American democracy. Till subsequently became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.
The actress and producer is widely known for her performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Hidden Figures (2016), and Hustle & Flow (2005). In Proud Mary, she plays Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston.