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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

'TWO SIDES': One Truth

"There are two sides to every case, but there is only one truth," said Rev. Al Sharpton in the premiere episode of Two Sides.

Two Sides is a landmark limited four-part docu-series exploring watershed moments for law enforcement and the Black community at the crossroads between life and death, premiering Sunday, January 22 at 10 p.m. ET on TV One.

Executive produced by Academy Award® winner Viola Davis, Julius Tennon (JuVee Productions) and Lemuel Plummer (L. Plummer Media) with narration by Davis, each one-hour episode of Two Sides offers an in-depth, comprehensive look into the disturbing cases of officer-involved deaths.

Focusing on four headline-grabbing fatal police encounters during 2014 – 2015, the series analyzes and presents multiple points of view of the highly charged cases involving Eric Garner (New York), Ezell Ford (California), John Crawford (Ohio), and Sandra Bland (Texas). Their tragic deaths sparked grassroots social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, inspired protests by high profile personalities, and immortalized their names as tragic figures in the polarizing debate on police brutality and race.

THAheadline's very own, Thai Lee asked the panelist, "What is the healing process like when you are grieving in front of the public eye? Does it make it easier or does it make it harder?"

Stacy Artist, the best friend of John Crawford, stated, “Honestly for me, it’s harder. Every time a news story comes up, it is living it all over again and the fact that even to this day, it has been four years since John was murdered, it been hundreds probably thousands of cases since his that the same fate has happened. An officer has killed a civilian, the officer does not get in trouble or gets charged and sometimes still keeps his job," She continued, "So, it is extremely hard because it is almost like we are seeing this news story every day even if we try to unplug from social media or T.V. The minute we try to plug back into civilization, there is a new story, somebody else has been killed, another family has lost a loved one; It is almost like it is never-ending.”

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, said, “Being in front of the media is hard sometimes, but it gives you more exposure. They do help keep your child’s name alive and we have to speak our child’s or our family member’s name and make sure that they are recognized, that no one ever forgets who they were or who they are. We always have that dark corner or dark place, when there is no one around, where we grieve and when no one sees us. A lot of times people are watching us in front of the camera saying, 'Oh she doesn’t look like she is crying' or 'She doesn’t look like she is grieving,' but don’t judge us because we grieve the way we grieve. We don’t have to put on a show for anyone. There is a need for media, but there is a need for our time alone also."

To finish it off, Shaunte Needham, sister of Sandra Bland stated, “It’s extremely hard. It seems like we have to walk on eggshells. We have to make sure we are always a certain type of way for the public eye or else they will perceive us in a negative manner. As for myself personally, I was grateful that my sister Sharon was able to tackle most of the speaking engagements because, at that particular time, I was not able to do that. My facial expressions are something else, and I did not want to give off negative vibes. I just hope and pray that as the dialogue continues and the conversation goes on, that we will have less and less press conferences and media engagements pertaining to social injustices. That is my hope and my prayer.”

Two Sides is a real eye-opener. It gives you the perspective of not only the loved ones affected but of the counterparts of the officers who were involved in those tragic encounters. The show is simply moving and is a must watch.

Tune in tonight, January 22 at 10 PM EST for the premiere of Two Sides only on TV One.

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