Jharrel Jerome has won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Television at the 2019 Emmys for his role as Korey Wise in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us.
Jerome earned critical acclaim for the role and was the only actor to play a member of the Exonerated Five as a teen and as an adult.
With this win, he makes history for a number of reasons: he’s the first Afro-Latino actor to be nominated for and win in an acting category, he’s the youngest actor to win Lead Actor in a Limited Series and he’s the first Latin-American to win since America Ferrera in 2007.
Shortly before the limited series’ release, Jerome spoke with Shadow And Act about preparing for the role. “I’m from the Bronx, so I’ve been kind of doing research my whole life in a way–understanding you have to talk polite to the police, understanding that you have to stay away from the park at night, stay out of the streets at night. It was kind of this subconscious feeling of I kind of understand the intensity and the fear of the project, but it took watching the documentary a couple of times, they gave us transcripts, they gave us the actual documents, I got to watch Korey’s entire confession over and over. Ava opened up this world for us to get us into their minds.”
On the impact of this project, Jerome said, “No matter what, we’re still people of color, so we leave set looking around, almost a little more scared now. That naivety that I had before the project is gone. I’m no longer naive to the brutality of a police officer or justice system. You kind of go around and you want to take this project as a lesson for you.”
Our Shadow And Act review of the series reads, “We owe it to these men to listen to their stories and pay as much attention to their exoneration and the celebration of their survival as was paid to their unjust condemnation. Because we cannot avoid these mistakes in our future without first reckoning with our past. When They See Us is a story that needs to be watched and heard, loud and clear.”
Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Asante Blackk, Marquis Rodriguez, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Jovan Adepo, Justin Cunningham, Felicity Huffman, Vera Farmiga, Michael K. Williams, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Storm Reid, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, Omar J. Dorsey and Adepero Oduye also starred in the series.
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