Monica Pearson One on One: Chinonye ChuKwu

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The story of Emmett Till is well-known. More than 60 years ago, the 14-year-old Chicago youth visited relatives in Mississippi was abducted and murdered by two white men because he whistled at a white woman.

The story is known because of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley. Now her story comes to the big screen for the first time because of writer and director Chinonye Chukwu, who recently told legendary Atlanta journalist Monica Pearson the movie, “Till,” was a film that once, no one wanted to make.

“I knew for myself the only way that I would be interested in telling this story was from Mamie’s perspective,” she said. “Without Mamie, the world wouldn’t know who Emmett Till was. But also, Black women tend to be erased from history, and I really wanted to center her emotional journey and make her a real person and show her in a multidimensional light that goes beyond just a grieving mother.”

The role of Mamie is played by Atlanta native, Danielle Deadwyler, who also graduated from Spelman College.

Chukwu remembers growing up “and seeing that picture of Emmett Till in his coffin in ‘Jet’ magazine. It is still the most visual thing for my childhood, I can remember.”

Chukwu wants the film’s audiences to “walk away with their own individual experience and response to it. As an artist, I release my work and I cannot necessarily control how people receive it. But it would be great if some of the, some of the reception involves people really asking themselves, what is the work that they can do in their own lives and should, can contribute to the world, big or small?”