11:30am PT by Lacey Rose
Will Smith to Host 14th Amendment Doc Series for Netflix
Netflix is set to tackle the 14th Amendment with the help of Will Smith.
On Feb. 17, the streaming service will debut a six-part doc series titled Amend: The Fight for America, which counts the Suicide Squad star as a producer and host. The hourlong episodes will explore the amendment, which, in 1868, promised "liberty and equal protection for all persons."
The series, which also counts former Nightly Show star Larry Wilmore as an executive producer, features a rotation of recognizable faces, including Mahershala Ali, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson, Pedro Pascal and Yara Shahidi. That group will deliver speeches and writings by the Amendment’s most passionate advocates and foes (think Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Also mixed in: insights from a slew of contemporary experts and thought leaders. Amend is being billed as "a powerful, multimedia journey through American history that encourages viewers to question what a 'United States' really means."
“We are living in unprecedented days as a society, as a country, and as a human family. I believe that the cultivation of personal and historical understanding is the imperative spark igniting the flames of desperately needed compassion and healing," said Smith in a statement announcing the news Monday. "As Americans, we endeavor to form a more perfect union that truly establishes justice and equality for all. I believe a deeper understanding of the 14th Amendment is a critical jumping-off point. Our hope with this series is to illuminate the beauty that is the promise of America and to share a message of connection and shared humanity so that we will be able to better understand and celebrate our different experiences as Americans and promote progress toward the true equality promised to all persons under the 14th amendment. I'm grateful to Netflix and the phenomenal group of people who came together both in front of and behind the camera to help us tell this story.”
That group includes creators Robe Imbriano and Tom Yellin and directors Kenny Leon and Reinaldo Marcus Green, along with fellow exec producers Terence Carter, Jana Babatunde-Bey, Jamal Watson, Jonna Mclaughlin and Angus Wall. Amend is a Westbrook Studios, The Documentary Group, Wilmore Films and MakeMake Entertainment production.
“I hope families can watch Amend together and have the series be a compelling conversation starter," said Wilmore. "Everything we’ve seen happen in America in the last few years is about what Black people and other marginalized groups have always wanted: to make sure that we are really part of America and have everything that’s been promised to us by the Constitution. I think it’d be really fantastic if Amend helped people to better understand how special the bond can be between each of us and our country.”
While Smith will always be best known as the face of tentpoles, he has started to dip his toes in the political conversation in recent years. In fact, back in 2015, he was so appalled by the spewings of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, he allegedly toyed with getting involved himself. "As I look at the political landscape, I think that there might be a future out there for me," he told THR at the time. "This is the first year that I've been incensed to a level that I can't sleep, you know? So I'm feeling that at some point, in the near future, I will have to lend my voice to the conversation in a somewhat different way."