Oprah Winfrey is a bookworm. And her love for reading books has landed her on an ex-prisoner series by Shaka Senghor known as “Released.”
The owner of OWN spent almost a year reading Shaka Senghor’s book: Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison.
Senghor’s story touched Oprah so deep that she arranged an interview with him. Oprah later admitted that the interview was one of the best in her life.
Winfrey asked Senghor, a question that she usually asks each of her interview subjects. The question was aimed to know Senghor’s intentions about that interview.
Senghor responded that he just wanted people to understand that they aren’t their biggest mistakes.
Both Senghor and Winfrey believe that everyone can retell his/her story and get redeemed. It is during the meeting that the idea behind Released, was born.
The Purpose of Producing Ex-Prisoner Series, By Shaka Senghor.
Winfrey and Shaka Senghor’s ex-prisoner series project features six folks who have been recently released from prison and their families.
From the pilot episode, a viewer can see the introduction of the three main subjects covered in the series.
The trio was incarcerated for various offenses. However, they all share common experiences of living behind bars. And the experience of trying to avoid reincarceration once you have been released.
Jon Sinclair is the executive producer of the ex-prisoner series. Sinclair said that Released by Shaka Senghor intends to:
- Humanize the issue of mass imprisonment of the African-Americans in America
- Show that ex-prisoners are humans… just as we are
Sinclair ensured that he picked characters (ex-prisoners) who could bring out the real picture on the ground.
What Is So Special About the Ex-Prisoner Series By Shaka Senghor?
Keary Braxton, who is the executive producer and Showrunner, remarked that Released, is unique from all other productions about incarceration.
This is because unlike other films, Shaka Senghor’s ex-prisoner series does not focus on what happens inside the prison. Rather, its focus on what exactly takes place once inmates exit the prisons.
This part had specifically been overlooked often, despite people in this situation experiencing many challenges.
The Ex-Prisoners of “Released”
After experiencing the testimony on the screen firsthand, Oprah recommended that Senghor act as the consulting producer. The first episode was screened in front of the panel. In the episode, you can see Kevin, who has just come out of prison being stranded.
Kevin stares in surprise at the selection of the candy offered at one convenience store. Kevin is overwhelmed since he isn’t familiar with the most of the food options available. Just as Shaka Senghor explained, being incarcerated for two decades denies one access to many of these changes.
And while the movie might seem to focus on the ex-convicts alone, Braxton says that it has a wider scope. He argued that Released, touches the families as this is usually a transition time for your loved ones.
Just like every family member is usually affected by the absence their imprisoned loved ones, they’re also affected when he/she is released. While discussing the impact of ex-prisoner series, by Shaka Senghor, Oprah said that everyone is eligible for redemption.
Released, is aiming to go beyond the commonly held stereotypes about ex-convict. Its primary goal is to remind the public that, everyone deserves to be forgiven, Oprah added.