*The shooting death of Botham Jean by a white Dallas police officer on September 6, 2018 sparked outrage and protests of yet another black man killed by police brutality.
With this year marking the second anniversary of Botham’s death, Investigation Discovery (ID) is airing the two-hour special “The Ballad of Botham Jean,” on Thursday, September 10 from 9-11 p.m. EDT/PDT. The episode is the second season opener of the IMPACT OF MURDER series.
In a recent EUR interview with Botham’s mother, Allison Jean, she reflected on the two years since her oldest son’s death, and candidly said, “I can tell you that I’m not okay. I have never experienced death of a close relative before. I thought after two years I would have been in a better place, but I find myself feeling a strong grief two years later as if it had just happened. Reality has now hit that he is not coming back. So, it’s a really, really tough time for me.”
“Faith in God has helped me,” Mrs. Jean continued. “So, the times when I feel low, I turn to God for strength – that’s what keeps me going.”
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“The Ballad of Botham Jean” chronicles how Botham was in his own apartment when off-duty police officer Amber Guyger shot and killed him. The officer claimed she thought the 26-year-old accountant was trespassing in her residence.
The tele-documentary features heart-wrenching interviews with Botham’s family members and with those who worked with the family to bring justice to Botham. A year after his killing, Guyger was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“She got a slap on the wrist with the 10 years she got,” Mrs. Jean told the EUR.
While it has been difficult to deal with Botham’s death, Mrs. Jean said it was important for her to be interviewed for the special episode.
“As much as it is painful to relive the loss of Botham, I want Botham’s name to be remembered forever and ever,” said Mrs. Jean, who is from St. Lucia. “I want his story to be told. I want his legacy to continue. I want everybody to know who he was, what he did, and what he could have done.”
Police brutality has been an issue in the black community for decades – with many officers never charged for a crime or if charged never convicted. Mrs. Jean takes some comfort in Guyger’s conviction.
“The days leading up to the trial, I prayed for a murder conviction because that’s what it was,” said Mrs. Jean. “Being convicted of murder was the right conviction.”
After the verdict, Botham’s younger brother, Brandt (18 at the time), embraced the officer. Looking back on that day in court, Mrs. Jean said, “My heart stopped. We never spoke about it (beforehand). We trained our (three) children (to be) Christians. We always spoke to them about forgiving one another, who we are as Christians, and what God wants of us.”
“I believe (Brandt) wanted to free himself from the anger, pain, and hurt he was enduring for a whole year,” said Mrs. Jean. “He dropped out of school and could not start college until the trial was over. He was carrying a heavy burden. I was very proud of him for doing that. He has more courage than I because I couldn’t do that.”
The African American community was not so forgiving. Black Twitter, many journalists, and many in the general community were brutal toward the Jean family for the hug. To add salt to the wound, after the conviction, the presiding judge, a black woman, stepped down from the bench and also embraced Guyger and even handed her a Bible. For many black Americans, both embraces amounted to slave and master behavior and many thought it went too far.
“I got off of social media for a while,” Mrs. Jean said in response to the backlash. “What black America doesn’t understand is that we’re not from black America. We’re from the Caribbean. Our orientation is different. We’re 90 percent black and don’t have to deal with racism over here. So, Brandt didn’t have racism, slavery, or anything like that on his mind.”
She added, “I think people are missing several major issues. This is an 18-year-old who lost his big brother. His role model. The person he went to when he wanted to share his secrets. The person he spent 2017 summer with, and he lost him in that brutal way.”
Mrs. Jean went on to say that she was afraid of what Brandt would have become if he did not do what was in his heart.
“As a parent, I was scared that Brandt would have turned on every white woman – that he would have taken revenge. He was angry over everything. He became closed and was always in his room. It was difficult for me to speak to him. So, when he opened his heart at the trial, it put me at ease. Could you imagine grieving the death of a son but at the same time concerned about the kids that are alive? I know what my family went through and whoever wants to talk can talk, I am just proud of Brandt, of what he did.”
The officer’s lawyers are appealing the conviction, claiming it was too harsh. They want a new punishment hearing and a lesser charge such as criminally negligent homicide. Mrs. Jean said the murder conviction was not enough.
“Her appeal is on the grounds of self-defense and I keep asking what was she defending? What was the threat? I’ve come to the conclusion that the threat was the color of his skin.”
At the writing of this story, protests continue across the United States demanding justice for recent cases of black men and women killed by police, which is upsetting to Mrs. Jean.
“What the documentary is showing is that even though there were protests for Botham, nothing much has changed,” she told the EUR. “The deaths or so many other murders of black men and women (by police) show no authorities are taking the lead for the importance of black lives.”
“The Ballad of Botham Jean” airs as a two-hour special as part of the IMPACT OF MURDER series on Investigation Discovery on Thursday, September 10 from 9-11 p.m. EDT/PDT.
Meanwhile, the Botham Jean Foundation has been set up by the family. For more information, please visit here.
John David Washington Talks ‘Tenet’ & Being Named the Black James Bond! – EUR Exclusive / WATCH
*EURweb sat down with John David Washington, the star of Tenet, to talk all things inversion, classic spy movies and being named “The Black James Bond!”
The highly anticipated, globe trotting action epic, Tenet, from the great mind of Christopher Nolan, has landed in IMAX theaters.
Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, this movie is a Protagonist’s journey through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
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Simply called, the Protagonist, John David Washington’s character takes the viewers on an unprecedented thrill ride through time, within the concept of inversion.
We asked Washington what it was like to film his own inverted fight scenes and he said:
“For all the physical requirements of the film, it took about two and a half months of training before principal photography started. It was intense. I was on a strict diet and [he] had the mentality of a strict operative. A mentality of a killer. A savior of the world.”
He went on to say that the training was very difficult, but he loved every moment of it. The moves that you see in this movie, have never been done before. The hand-to-hand combat, in the rules of inversion, have never been filmed before…ever! The moves were specifically created for this film and filmed through an IMAX camera.
Washington gave interviews for “Tenet,” as recent as last week, even though the movie opened on September 3rd. Tenet can only be seen in theaters. It is not streaming anywhere. But, with many cineplexes still closed and many moviegoers reluctant to return, due to the global pandemic, its $20 million opening was low by the nine-digit standards of director Christopher Nolan, whose blockbusters include “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk.” Washington and Nolan, want you to feel comfortable going back to theaters, safely. This blockbuster is the answer. It is a palindrome, in title and in viewing. It is epic and it’s looking for viewers to experience the unexperienced!
John David Washington is phenomenal in this movie! He is indeed “The Black James Bond!” If you want a new viewing experience, if you want to see the genius of a strong Black lead in a thriller of a lifetime, Tenet is the movie for you!
“You’re not shooting the bullet, you’re catching it.”
If this statement makes you curious, you have to add Tenet to your “must see” list!
Check your local theaters for showtimes.
Making People Laugh About the Hardships of Teaching Keeps Eddie B. Going (EUR Exclusive!)
*Eddie B. hit the mark when his “Teachers Only Comedy Tour” in 2017 played to sold-out audiences. His later show “I’m Already Professionally Developed Tour” was also a huge success.
With funny and telling commentary about what teachers really think has made Eddie B. a hit with educators and comedy fans around the world. While the former teacher is excited about his success, he takes it all in stride.
“People ask me why am I so humble and I don’t know how to answer that,” Eddie B. told the EUR in a recent phone interview. “The only answer I came up with one time is that the more thankful you are you have no choice but to display humbleness. You have to be thankful for what you have. So being humble and thankful go hand in hand.”
With COVID-19 rendering comedy-tours practically non-existent, the Houston native keeps the jokes coming and his routines fresh by crashing virtual conferences held by, of course, teachers.
“I’m doing a lot of Zooms,” Eddie B. said. “I’m doing everybody’s meetings and convocations. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Thank God.”
The consummate “class clown,” he was always the funny one in the room and began making serious moves as a comedian while attending Texas A&M University (Kingsville).
Although he was earning a local name for himself, Eddie B. was not making the kind of money he had hoped. Continuing the comedy club circuit after graduation and taking odd jobs, he began teaching because it was steady pay. He remained a teacher for 13 years while still doing comedy.
“A lot of teachers say, ‘I’ve been wanting to teach my whole life. I was born this way.’ No, you weren’t.” the single father laughed. “I’m a tell you right now 70% of all teachers didn’t want to teach. I guarantee you that. Teaching is a profession you get stuck in. The only reason you get stuck is because of the kids. You know the money’s not keeping us. It’s our relationships with the kids and other teachers too – the camaraderie of it all.”
Eddie B. retired from teaching for a short while during his tenure but soon had to return to pay the bills.
“I’m hearing Steve Harvey and ‘em say, ‘You gotta jump. Take the leap,’ That’s cute,” he added. “But what the hell do you do when you take the jump and you get pulled back? I jumped as high as I could and got snatched back down, which led me to believe that it’s got more to do with timing then jumping.”
Down but not out, Eddie B., who showed off his craft on YouTube, said a voice inside his head told him, “’Hey, why don’t you do a video about (teaching)?’ So, I shot it before the kids got in my (school) room and put it out by lunch time. But I was like I don’t even have teaching in my comedy.”
“A couple of days later on my Instagram I got about 100,000 views,” he continued. “I thought something was wrong. I thought it was a glitch. It was just teachers bouncing it off and that was the magic of it. It kept growing and growing. Millions of views and the video was only sixty seconds. It was called ‘What Teachers Really Want to Say’ and I was like man if they like this I’ve got 13 years of this.”
Now that he was getting traction, he had to figure out a way to keep the momentum going with the newer audience.
“What they (the teachers who liked his videos) didn’t know was that I’m a comedian,” Eddie B. said. “They just thought I’m a funny teacher. I had to take what I knew about teaching and put it in a (comedy) set now.”
But could he do that without alienating those who had supported his regular comedy for so long?
“My comedy wasn’t always clean. I used to curse with every other word. I’m from the neighborhood and a large percent of my audience is Caucasian (white women teachers). They don’t want to hear that language. But I’ve been on tour for almost 4 years now and I’ve toned it down. I had to grow with it and learn on the job. It was like teaching.”
For more on Eddie B., and to find out where he may be next virtually and otherwise, go to his official website here.
You can also buy his book, “I’m Already Professionally Developed: Straight from the Teacher’s Desk,” released last year.
‘The Rock’ is a Hero to a ‘Secret Second Born Royal’ / EUR Exclusive!
*Peyton Elizabeth Lee stars as Sam in “Secret Society of Second Born Royals.” She is a teenage royal rebel second in line to the throne of Illyria.
Sam and fellow royals with special powers attend a top-secret training camp learn how to harness their powers to save the world. Noah Lomax (Mike) is Sam’s best friend and bandmate in the Disney+ original movie “Secret Society of Second Born Royals.”
Both discussed their roles in an exclusive interview with EUR.
What’s the difference between the “Secret Society of Second Born Royals’ academies, especial Professor Xavier’s Academy for Gifted Children.
PEYTON ELIZABETH LEE: Sam goes to a very prestigious elitist school, and it’s a place where she’s never really felt like she belonged. And it’s because there are all these uptight princesses and princes that she doesn’t really connect with or relate to. And so she really struggles with finding herself, and finding people that she can connect with and trust in such a school.
NOAH LOMAX: My character Mike is actually more realistic I think. He doesn’t attend the prestigious school that Sam goes to. So he’s just on his own doing his own thing with the public school, but still playing an important part in keeping the world safe.
How would you use your powers to help ease some of the chaos in the world today?
PEL: That a good question. Sam has super senses, so maybe she could listen in to hear people saying racist, rude, and mean things. Then go to those people and teach them a lesson.
NL: For, me unfortunately, Mike doesn’t have any superpowers. But I think he can use the power of being such a loyal friend, and being there for someone no matter what. I think that could really come into play and help out in today’s society.
What goes into being a best friend friend?
PEL: I think Mike in ‘Secret Society’ is a great example of a best friend. He’s always there for her. He doesn’t judge her. He knows who she is and he doesn’t get caught up in all the background noise that is being royalty and all of her responsibilities. And he’s always there for her as a human rather than as a princess. So I think that’s a really great quality that all friends should have is that loyalty, and that understanding.
What are some things you want viewers to walk away with?
NL: Self-empowerment and being proud of who you are, what you were born with, and not being ashamed of it.
PEL: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think the great themes of this movie are self-acceptance, empowerment, and being excited and proud of who you are with all your quirks and differences. It’s a really great reflection of what we should be doing in this world.
Do you have any superheroes onscreen or off?
PEL: I would definitely say my parents. They’ve just always been there for me. They’ve been my rock. They’ve pushed me to pursue my dreams and I really don’t know where I would be without them.
NL: For me I’d probably have to say my dad, and mom and then maybe Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I love The Rock.
Veteran, syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on mainstream media and the Black diaspora. Facebook.com/TheFilmStrip Twitter: @thefilmstrip Instagram.com/thefilmstriptm
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