Niecy Nash-Betts, 53, graced the latest cover of Variety‘s Emmy Extra Edition as the face of Women of Awards Season, where she sat down for an exclusive interview to discuss her thoughts on her controversial series “Dahmer”.
The extremely people Netflix series, which followed the murders of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, gained infamous criticism for its graphic portrayal of murder despite the victims’ families not consenting to the series.
In 1993, tragedy struck Nash-Betts’s life when her 17-year-old brother, Michael Ensley, was fatally shot at his high school in California. Having personally experienced the depths of loss, Nash-Betts has a unique perspective on the recent controversy surrounding Netflix’s “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”.
“My brother was murdered on his high school campus. And you never forget,” the actress said while crying. “You’re reminded if you pass a cemetery, by a favourite song, a smell, memory, photo. If you have had a loved one die in a horrific way, it is going to be with you for the rest of your life, not just from a TV show, so the goal would be — how do people remember them?”
Nash-Betts highlighted the timeless relevance of the “Dahmer” story, as it sheds light on the continued targeting of people of colour based on their appearance.
With Dahmer’s victims primarily being gay men of colour in an under-policed area of Milwaukee, the series confronted the systemic racism and problematic police force that enabled Dahmer’s murderous spree to persist unchecked for an alarming duration.
“If there were Black and brown people doing all of these mass shootings today, gun reform would happen in a heartbeat,” said Nash-Betts, drawing a comparison from the show to today. “Systematic racism and differential treatment are still alive and well.”