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TV One's Original Thriller "Second Sight": Twist, Turns, Scandal...Tune In!

(L to R) Susan A. Banks, Executive Producer/Writer of TV One's Original movie, #SecondSight; Actress, Marla Gibbs; Actress, Jessica Pressley; ACtress, Tatyana Ali; Actress, Denise Boutte and Actor, Jose Yenque. Photo By: Thai Lee

Imagine spending the day at the park with your daughter and out of nowhere, a stranger in all black snatches her right before your very eyes. In a matter of seconds, this stranger throws her into an untagged, dark vehicle and all you can do is helplessly chase after the car, screaming your daughter’s name all while hearing her scream out for yours. Any parent can envision how terrifying that would be if they one day looked up and their child was gone.

From an African-American viewpoint, this visual was birthed from the mind of Susan A. Banks, Executive Producer and Writer of the suspenseful-thriller, ‘Second Sight’.

“My very first vision of the movie was the mother running down the driveway after that car, I wrote that,” said Banks. She continued, “This film reflects African-Americans, it is about African-Americans and it is telling our story. It is telling our story in a way you do not see often and that you rarely hear about."

TV One’s made-for-television movie, Second Sight stars Tatyana Ali as Clara Randall, a devoted teacher whose gift of “prophesy” leaves her haunted by premonitions of horrific kidnappings. Living in a constant nightmare, Clara (Ali) has trouble understanding her abilities as well as convincing others of her “second sight”. After “seeing” the abduction of a student from her school, Clara takes it upon herself to search for her student using the clues from her visions. Shot on location in Los Angeles, this suspenseful thriller marks the third project executive produced by Radio One Founder Cathy Hughes and Executive Vice President of Special Projects Susan A. Banks.

Daily, young black girls are gone without a trace, and only left behind are the puzzled and mourning family members and friends who frequently struggle to get empathetic media attention for those reported missing.

In spite of only representing 13.2% of the population (U.S. Census, 2014), African-Americans accounted for nearly 239,593 — or 37% — of all missing persons reported in 2014 (according to the FBI). The Black and Missing Foundation reported that 36.8% of missing children in 2014 were black.

"All the time you hear on the news about little kids going missing, and usually, they are precious little white girls and the whole world goes crazy saying, 'find her, find her', that is how we got an Amber Alert to begin with. Who is Amber? Nobody really knows anything about her except she was white, missing and a child and that the world went crazy," said Banks. She adds, "Well, black children go missing every day and I do not see their names and faces plastered over the news. So, I thought, 'wouldn't it be great to tell a story of parents, black parents who lose their children too?’ I want viewers to be able to feel that emotion, feel that drama, and to see that it happens to us also."

Photo Credit: Sam Johnson, Courtesy of TV One/The FrontPage Firm

With such a heavy story-line, Ali expressed that the most challenging part was the intensity of the film.

“The most challenging part of filming this was the intensity of a child being lost and that truth resonates. I think the cast, the crew and the director did a really good job at keeping that tension throughout the whole film. A lot of our African-American and Latino girls are kidnapped and taken from our communities and are sent into slavery all over the world. That has been going on for quite a while, and the numbers are outrageous,” she said. Ali continued, “I was so proud of Susan for writing this story and for making that apart of Second Sight. I have not seen something like this on TV, yet. I have not seen that story told and it is so prevalent and rampant. Knowing that this is real and that it is really happening puts an extra stress on the way we tell the story and the respect we give to the story. That for me was probably the most difficult part.”

During a recent private Hollywood screening; viewers could not help but to sit on the edge of their seats. With any great story, there are even greater characters that bring it to life. The cast of Second Sight brought the heart and drama.

Acting alongside Ali were Texas Battle (The Bold and The Beautiful), who played her boyfriend Tony Prescott and Denise Boutte (Meet the Browns, For the Love of Ruth) playing the role of Tamara Johnson, Clara’s best friend. Rounding out the cast of stellar actors are Edwina Findley (Get Hard) as Donna Gray and Sharif Atkins (White Collar, Rizzoli & Isles) as Richard Gray, the parents of the kidnapped student Mary Ann, played by Jessica Pressley (For The Love of Ruth) and last but certainly not least, ‘Hollywood royalty’, Marla Gibbs as Clara’s Nana.

Actress Denise Boutte commended Susan Banks for writing a story that was not told on television.

“When you see stuff actually come into fruition on the screen, it is very different than when you read it on the page. I must commend Susan, it starts there. If it’s not popping off the page, it will not pop off the screen. She gave us something to work with that many people are not talking about. There are so many stories that are relevant to us and are not being told. So number one, you must commend the person who puts it on the page. Thank you so much Susan for going against the norm and giving us something different, a different story to tell,” she said.

Being a black mother, Boutte also vocalized that seeing the final product was ‘gut wrenching’ for her.

“Having a four year old myself, it was gut wrenching to see it play out on screen. Questioning, the ‘what ifs?’ As a mother, it hurt my heart like nobody’s business. It is just horrible to think that people would ever have to go through something like that. I have nothing but love for the folks who have and prayers for them,” said heartfelt, Boutte.

TV One’s original thriller, Second Sight premieres Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. ET and encores will also air on TV One on Saturday, April 23 at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday, April 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET. For more information about Second Sight, visit TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hashtag #SecondSight. To see the promo for the film, check out the video below.

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