Grammy Award-winning musician and executive producer John Legend has teamed up with Gillian Laub to produce Southern Rites, a documentary about Montgomery and Toombs County in southern Georgia about 200 miles south of Atlanta.
The documentary explores the area’s segregated proms and the tragic shooting death of Justin Patterson, a black 22-year-old young man gunned down by Norman Neesmith, a 66-year-old white man who woke to find the boy and his brother in his home. Neesmith was unaware that Patterson had been invited over by his biracial adopted great-niece. Neesmith shot Patterson in the back as he was running away and he died just outside his home.
“This is a story that needs to be told,” Laub said in a press release. “This film is about giving a voice to the people of Montgomery and Toombs counties. This is their narrative.”
Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. helped finance the documentary. Southern Rites premieres tonight at 9p.m. EST on HBO.
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