Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trayvon Martin 'Rest in Power' docuseries starts tonight

Earlene McMichael | WMUK

A six-part documentary about slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin that debuts at 10 p.m. tonight on the Paramount Network and BET pulls from interviews with more than 100 people, among them his mother, Sybrina Fulton, who spoke in Kalamazoo last year.

WMUK did its own two interviews with Fulton in connection with her visit here. The first was in advance of her trip, the other live onstage. The live interview won an excellence award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters earlier this year.

We're reposting both conversations to coincide with the documentary's premiere. 

"Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story" is based on the book of a similar title released by Fulton and former husband Tracy Martin two months before her March 2017 lecture at Chenery Auditorium, which was the culminating event in a racial equity and social justice lecture series sponsored by Western Michigan University’s Lee Honors College. 

Fulton's appearance in Kalamazoo was one month after the five-year anniversary of Travyon's death. A neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, fatally shot the unarmed teen on Feb. 29, 2012 alleging that his life was in danger. His second-degree murder acquittal ignited debate about stand-your-ground laws, and led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement. (Click here for a summary.)

WestSouthwest (aired 3/20/17): Advance interview with Sybrina Fulton & WMUK's Earlene McMichael

WMUK Local Morning Edition Host Earlene McMichael's first interview with Fulton aired on March 20, 2017, nine days before she came to Kalamazoo. 

Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK
WMUK's Earlene McMichael confers with Sybrina Fulton in her Chenery Auditorium dressing room on March 29, 2017 before their onstage interview.

The second one broadcast on April 13, 2017. It is a live recording of McMichael's 40-minute interview with Fulton at Chenery Auditorium in front of 700 people, followed by McMichael moderating the question-and-answer session between Fulton and the audience.

Fulton told McMichael of being so distraught after Trayvon's death that she barely left her bedroom those first days. She said she soon concluded she'd have to sacrifice her grief and privacy, and lift her silence, if she wanted to draw attention to the case. TV viewers also hear about her transition to activist in the first episode of the "Rest in Power" documentary.

The film is executive-produced by music mogul Jay Z. He also headed the Peabody Award-winning documentary "Time: The Kalief Browder Story," about a Bronx teen who spent three years in jail because he couldn't afford bail; ultimately, his case was dismissed and he committed suicide.  The Browder series aired on Netflix in 2017.

Jay Z is using the same directors (Jenner Furst and Julia Willoghby Nason) for the "Rest in Power" documentary airing tonight on Viacom-owned cable channels Paramount Network and BET.

Paramount is the rebranded Spike TV. It launched in January of this year.

(Note: Remaining episodes air weekly on Mondays.)


Click here for NPR's interview with Sybrina Fulton that broadcast today (7/30/18). 

Watch the "Rest in Power" trailer below.

Related Content