Will Smith and Larry Wilmore want to challenge what America really knows about the Fourteen Amendment, that part of the Constitution that promises all citizens of the United States equal protections under the law. As they and a panel of experts lay out in a trailer for their new docuseries, the Amendment's "undefined" term "citizen" has "allowed racism to flourish."
"What does it mean to be an American? What about a citizen?" Smith asks. Those are some of the questions Amend: The Fight for America, created by producers Robe Imbriano and Tom Yellin, seeks to answer across six hourlong episodes.
Smith hosts the docuseries that explores the Fourteenth Amendment and executive produces with Wilmore. Glimpsed in the trailer are some of the actors who've been tapped to recite speeches from the Fourteenth Amendment's advocates and foes. Mahershala Ali, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Samira Wiley, Laverne Cox, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sterling K. Brown, and Joshua Jackson are some of them.
"I am honored to present Amend: The Fight for America. We are living in unprecedented days as a society, as a country, and as a human family. I believe that the cultivation of personal and historical understanding is the imperative spark igniting the flames of desperately needed compassion and healing," Smith said in a statement. "As Americans, we endeavor to form a more perfect union that truly establishes justice and equality for all. I believe a deeper understanding of the 14th Amendment is a critical jumping off point. Our hope with this series is to illuminate the beauty that is the promise of America and to share a message of connection and shared humanity so that we will be able to better understand and celebrate our different experiences as Americans and promote progress toward the true equality promised to all persons under the 14th amendment. I'm grateful to Netflix and the phenomenal group of people who came together both in front of and behind the camera to help us tell this story."
"I hope families can watch Amend together and have the series be a compelling conversation starter," Wilmore said. "Everything we've seen happen in America in the last few years is about what Black people and other marginalized groups have always wanted: to make sure that we are really part of America and have everything that's been promised to us by the Constitution. I think it'd be really fantastic if Amend helped people to better understand how special the bond can be between each of us and our country."
Amend: The Fight for America will premiere on Netflix Feb. 17. Kenny Leon and Reinaldo Marcus Green direct with a telescript by Sasha Stewart.