On Sunday night of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant (ret.) hosted a reception and special conversation on behalf of Netflix’s original documentary 13TH at their home in Los Angeles.
The conversation was moderated by Oprah Winfrey and featured 13TH director Ava DuVernay and CNN political commentator Van Jones discussing the documentary, the criminal justice system and state of race relations in America post election.
Guests in attendance included Chelsea Handler, Samira Wiley, Laura Dern, Mira Sorvino, Quincy Jones, Mark Duplass, Rob Reiner, Brett Ratner, Courtney B. Vance, Rosanna Arquette, Tina Lifford, Nia Vardalos, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clarence Avant, Lorraine Toussaint, Maria Bello, Francis Fisher, Marcia Gay Harden, Camryn Manheim, Kimberly Peirce, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, and leadership from #cut50, Homeboy Industries and Color Of Change.
The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from an array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.