The red carpet was held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, followed by a screening, panel discussion and a cocktail reception featuring DJ Max October. Attendees included executive producers Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, attorney Isaac Wright Jr. (“For Life” is inspired by Wright’s story), Hank Steinberg, Doug Robinson and Alison Greenspan, along with many of the series’ talented ensemble: Nicholas Pinnock, Joy Bryant, Tyla Harris, Mary Stuart Masterson, Boris McGiver, Timothy Busfield, Glenn Fleshler and Dorian Missick.
The panel discussion, moderated by CNN Anchor and #cut50 Co-Founder Van Jones, sparked a powerful conversation with the cast and executive producers around criminal justice reform and how Isaac Wright Jr.’s insurmountable story inspired the series. When asked how this project came to fruition, 50 Cent said, “Isaac was pitching a movie idea and I was like yeah, but it’s not a movie. It’s a TV show because it would only allow me two hours to tell the story and the story is too now, too current to what’s going on, so I put the team together and made it happen.”
Wright Jr. shared, “Coming up a few decades later to where I’m at today, the thing that stands out for me the most is the thing that hurt me the most and that was when I came home I knew that I was leaving thousands of people behind that did not have the divine gift that I’ve had and so now with this show, I became millions of people at the same time. And so this show is a representation of the inspiration and the hope that I had, that I now can give to billions all at once. … I think more than anything else, it epitomizes not only where I came from, but where I am, and what I would like to devote for the rest of my life to the general public and that is health, hope and inspiration.”
Louis Reed (#cut50 National Organizer) also weighed in, “Isaac’s story is something that I’m all too familiar with and so, while I was absolutely guilty of what I was convicted of, however there are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States of America who have genius that is languishing in our state and federal prisons who were not guilty of the things by which they were convicted of. And I just want to say this. Yesterday, there was something poignant that happened during the State of the Union. The entire chamber stood up when Trump started talking about criminal justice reform. And in my mind, that is how America is supposed to be standing up for people like Isaac people, such as myself and people such as Kenneth Richardson. So again, big shout out the 50 Cent.”
Other notable attendees included: Mary Ann Wolf (VP of Current Programming, ABC), Lainie Gallers (VP of Network Drama, ABC), Jeff Frost (President, Sony Pictures Television), Jason Clodfelter (Co-President at Sony Pictures Television), Lauren Stein (EVP, Drama Development at Sony Pictures Television), Andrew Plotkin (SVP, Drama Development at Sony Pictures Television), CNN Anchor and #cut50 Co-Founder Van Jones, #cut50 National Organizer Louis Reed, COMPLEX editor-in-chief Damien Scott, Byron Pitts (ABC Nightline), Michael Blake (Assemblyman, Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform in NY), Kenneth Richardson (#FirstStepAct and #cut50 beneficiary) and Tom Murro (TV Personality).
About FOR LIFE
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson executive produces this fictional serialized legal and family drama. “For Life,” inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., is about prisoner Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock), who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. His quest for freedom is driven by his desperate desire to get back to the family he loves – his estranged wife (Joy Bryant) and daughter (Tyla Harris) – and reclaim the life that was stolen from him. “For Life” will also, through the window of his ferocious struggle and his complicated relationship with a progressive female prison warden (Indira Varma), examine the flaws and challenges in our penal and legal systems.
The series is from Hank Steinberg, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson via G-Unit Film & Television, Doug Robinson and Alison Greenspan of Doug Robinson Productions and Isaac Wright Jr. The pilot is directed and executive produced by George Tillman Jr. (“The Hate U Give”). “For Life” is a co-production of Sony Pictures Television Inc. and ABC Studios. ABC Studios is a part of Disney Television Studios, a collection of studios comprised of 20th Century Fox Television, ABC Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios.P
About COMPLEX NETWORKS:
Complex Networks, formed from the acquisition of Complex Media Inc. through a joint venture by Verizon and Hearst, is a global lifestyle brand and media company and one of the most influential voices in popular culture today. Complex Networks’ digital channels, which include Complex, First We Feast, Pigeons & Planes, Sole Collector and more, is a Top 10 publisher in the U.S. for social engagement on channels like Facebook and YouTube. A diversified and profitable media business with premium distribution partners such as Netflix, Hulu, Pluto TV, Roku, and iFlix, Complex Networks’ original content exemplifies convergence culture, exploring topics that span across popular culture from music to movies, sports to video games, fashion to food.
Complex Networks develops and distributes original programming for its channels and through output deals with premium distributors. The company cultivates content that spans across popular culture from music to movies, sports to video games, fashion to food, reaching the coveted 18-24-year-old male audience. In 2016, the company launched ComplexCon in Long Beach, California, to bring the “Internet to life.” The annual event attracts over 200 culture-shifting brands and over 60,000 digitally savvy attendees to the two-day cultural festival.
#cut50, an initiative of The Dream Corps, is a national bipartisan effort to smartly and safely reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next 10 years. #cut50 uniquely connects “ground up” ability to educate and mobilize people with “grasstops” media and influencer reach, filling the gap between the expertise and work of leading criminal justice reform organizations and top-tier media and influencers. By humanizing the narrative and pursuing transformative legislation, #cut50 is uniting the political machine of Washington DC, the financial reach of Wall Street, the innovation of Silicon Valley, and the cultural dominance of Hollywood to roll back the incarceration industry.