The music mogul and the indie distributor won a bidding war for the rights to two books about the 2012 shooting of the unarmed black teenager: “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The first is by Lisa Bloom, a reporter who covered the trial of George Zimmerman. The second is by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and tells the story of Martin’s childhood and the impact of his death on the family.
Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch who claimed he was acting in self defense against the unarmed high schooler. Martin’s death, and Zimmerman’s subsequent acquittal on murder charges, launched a heated national debate around racial justice and led to the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The multiple project deal includes a six-part docu-series, which Jay Z will produce as part of a first look deal he signed with the Weinstein Company last September, and a feature length film which the studio will develop.
The Weinstein Company had success with Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station,” about the shooting of Oscar Grant, another unarmed black man who was shot in Oakland, California by a BART security officer. Jay Z recently teamed up with Weinstein Television to produce “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” a six-part docuseries about the life of a young African-American student who spent three years on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime.