*Famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump is speaking out about why he allowed a production crew to follow some of his high-profile cases for the new Netflix documentary “Civil.”
The project hails from Emmy-nominated director Nadia Hallgren, and producers Kenya Barris and Roger Ross Williams. Per press release, the doc is described as “an intimate vérité look at the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his mission to raise the value of Black life in America.”
In the documentary, Crump’s work on the cases of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Andre Hall are highlighted. Crump introduced “Civil” at the 2022 American Black Film Festival on Wed. June 15, where he gushed over Kenya Barris for making the doc possible, Variety reported.
“Kenya created ‘Black-ish’ and wrote ‘Girls Trip’ and [created] ‘America’s Next Top Model’ … We present those experiences in Black America, but we can have other experiences we believe are just as important,” Crump said, noting that the content the award-winning producer is putting out is “necessary to our culture.”
“Ben has been an advocate for us and Jeff and Nicole have been advocates for us, and combining those things, and people showing up for each other is what we’re all about, and how we continue to progress. To be part of that tradition means everything to me,” Barris said of the significance of the documentary screening at ABFF.
“I keep getting asked, ‘Why did I do this?’ Crump said. “I said, I understand, we always have to fight in two courts when we’re fighting for the lives and the dignity and the humanity of Black people: the court of law and the court of public opinion.”
“Civil” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 12, and was released in select theaters on June 17, then globally on Netflix on June 19.
“‘Civil’ follows my life for one year during what we believe is the most significant call to action in Civil Rights history,” Crump told Variety before the ABFF screening. “One of the things about ‘Civil’ that I am so thankful to Nadia for is that hopefully everyone around the world will get to see the Black experience and our mission to raise the value of Black life.”
Crump went on to say that the documentary’s message is quite simple. “We have to be civil to one another. We have to choose tolerance over this race replacement or lynch mob mentality,” he said. “We have to choose humanity over white supremacy. And most of all, we have to fight for love over hate.”
“This isn’t about money or lawsuits; it’s about humanity, it’s about the idea that our humanity has not always been seen in the way that we wanted,” Barris said. “I think that we need advocates to make sure that people see and hear us and understand that we have humanity as everyone else does.”