Why Terrance Tykeem And Montel Williams Felt They Needed To Make When George Got Murdered - Exclusive

This article discusses the murder of George Floyd as well as other police killings.

"When George Got Murdered: Where Were You?" is the latest project by writer and director Terrance Tykeem, known for his film "Jason's Letter." The story is a retelling of the aftermath of George Floyd's murder. The film specifically shows a reimagining of what happened in the jail where Floyd's killer, Derek Chauvin, was held in Spring 2020. As the film progresses, the audience gets a look at how the ex-cop's presence affects the guards, inmates, and the captain (played by Montel Williams). Tensions only rise inside and outside the jail when it comes to light that the minority guards are being kept off of Chauvin's unit.

During an exclusive interview, Tykeem and Williams discussed why they thought this was an important story to tell. Although it's a polarizing subject, they both felt they had to be brave enough to address it.

The story affects everyone

George Floyd's murder incited protests and sparked conversations about police brutality, not just around the nation but also around the world. Because of that, Terrance Tykeem knew that a film discussing that subject matter had a built-in audience. "It's one of these kinds of films that ... everybody knows the subject matter, so I had to be brave enough to want to tell it," the filmmaker told The List. But he also knew he needed to approach the story carefully. 

"I went from the standpoint of telling what happened, how the story really affected everybody, the nation, and the world ... most people were engaged because we were all stuck in our homes at the time when this whole thing happened," Tykeem said.

Although most people were aware of Floyd's murder, Tykeem also wanted to incorporate what happened within the jail. Once he learned about the minority guards being kept off Chauvin's unit, he knew that was an untold part of the story he wanted to address.

"The most important part for me was telling the story from the standpoint of letting it be known that we're dealing with an issue that people need to know more about, which is the whole thing about how the families were being exploited, the presence of this guy being inside the jail, and how his presence touched everybody's existence. Inside the jail, outside the jail, at their homes, their relationships, I wanted to show all of that," Tykeem said.

They hope the film will continue the conversation

Speaking about his hopes for "When George Got Murdered," Montel Williams said, "From my perspective, I hope that it sparks the conversation that's well needed in America." But despite that goal, he's not confident that America is "ready to sit down and have that conversation."

Terrance Tykeem agreed with Williams, saying, "Right now, we know the reality of this. 'Jaded' is an understatement for what I am right now. We know the reality, but we still have to ... When you get a platform like this, you have to do it." Despite how discouraging it can be, it was still important to them to put this story out there. 

Tykeem explained that he's realistic about the fact that many people's minds are already made up on the matter. "There's a group of people who don't care ... They love the cops. They're going to go with the cop no matter what," he said. But the filmmaker added that in doing a project like this, you still "hope to bring more people along the way to open up their minds and make them see and understand what the subject matter is."

"When George Got Murdered" is now available on digital streaming platforms including Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, and JustWatch.