Oprah Winfrey is set to sit down for a special interview with the “Central Park 5”, now known as “The Exonerated 5”.
The group — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — were 14 to 16 years old when they were falsely accused of raping a woman in 1989.
After they had spent six to 13 years in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
Talking about the new series “When They See Us”, which exposes the breakdown of the U.S. criminal justice system during the much-talked-about case — Richardson told Oprah: “It’s bittersweet.”
He added, “Watching this is painful, but it’s necessary. It needs to be watched.”
Series creator and director Ava DuVernay told Variety, “I’m excited about it because they’re excited about it. At one point, one of them had said to me a couple of years ago during the research period, that when they were young, they’d wished that they could just get to Oprah. [They thought] if they could get to Oprah and tell their story, maybe then people can hear their side because they knew how powerful she was, how much people listen to her.
“And it didn’t happen at the time they were incarcerated, they were guilty, people threw them away, and now it is their time. And so the fact that they get to sit down with her and finally tell her — her specifically– their story is so emotional to me, so moving.”
Salaam also spoke to Variety at the 25th annual ACLU of Southern California luncheon.
He shared, “Korey said once that they put a bounty on our heads by taking out these full-page ads calling for our deaths. And in many ways, this is life after death.
“And for Oprah to be here, to be whispering our names — I mean, of course, she’s shouting it — but to be whispering our names, it is just magnificent.”