- Director: Jacqueline Gares
- Producer: Laverne Cox
First and foremost, the American judicial system is deeply flawed...if not broken.
CeCe McDonald killed a man. She admitted to it. Then, she denied it, blaming it on someone else by way of a stupidly written letter. Then, she took a plea...for manslaughter.
The activists had a field-day, taking on her cause and her case, to satisfy their vicarious needs...demanding her to be freed...because, she is black, trans and acted in self-defence.
Still, a man was killed. This film shows nothing and says little about the victim. Because, Cece was [also] the victim. The man who died was a homophobe, a transphobe...if these accusations were true, are these really justifiable reasons for a man to die?!?
Of course, in a country that supports - in part - the death penalty...many will say that this was a justifiable outcome. It seems that 'sticks and stones' still break bones and names will always be hurtful...retaliation, in this case, came via a pair of scissors stabbed into his heart.
In walks Laverne Cox...and the whole film falls apart. The last thing this documentary needed was an over-powering dose of celebrity...making the film more about being black and trans and not what it should have been...about wrongful conviction!
Don't expect any in-depth interviews, there aren't any! Don't expect a detailed, forensic account of the killing, there isn't one.
There are denials by the justice department that they did not bend under the activists' pressure...of course they did. They offered CeCe a plea and she - wisely or unwisely - took it.
This film had the opportunity to ask big, mighty questions. It asked none. Why have trans-women of colour become such targets of hate? What measures/initiatives are the police, education and judicial departments going to implement to address this [often] tragic and horrendous state of affairs?!?
Plea-bargaining terrifies people into submission...it does not offer justice. It delivers expediency at the cost of the accused. If it were you, if you were innocent, if you successfully defended yourself against the possibility of being attacked and/or killed...would you take a plea?
In 2012, CeCe McDonald was incarcerated on a count of second-degree manslaughter after defending herself from a brutal attacker. A bisexual transgender African American woman, CeCe's case sparked national outrage, and she soon emerged as a leader in the crusade against the prison-industrial system. Actress and activist Laverne Cox hosts this nuanced documentary that tackles a wide range of complicated topics, including transphobia and racism, the unfair ways the prison-industrial system treats persons of color, and most importantly, the indomitable nature of the human spirit.