Asante Blackk
Source: Mat Hayward/Getty Images for “STORY AVE”

Asante Blackk: A New Age Hero in the Spotlight

Discover how Asante Blackk, known for "When They See Us," goes beyond acting to advocate for criminal justice reform. Uncover his passion for equality.


Dec. 3 2023, Published 7:36 p.m. ET

Asante Blackk is a budding young actor from D.C.-area. He is best known for playing Kevin Richardson, one of the Central Park Five, in the critically acclaimed short series, When They See Us. He also got an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries, making him one of only 12 actors and actresses to receive an Emmy nomination before reaching 18 years old.

However, Asante is not just a good actor. He is an activist committed to advancing racial equality and advocating for criminal justice system reforms. He made his debut in a miniseries that explored the failures of our criminal justice system and the inherent bias it sometimes has when dealing with people of color.

Asante Blackk Is an Activist at Heart

As someone who has had up-close and candid interactions with the real Kevin Richardson, he has a full appreciation for the effects of a failed justice system. Consequently, he has spoken up against injustices occasioned by failures in our justice system.

While you might assume he became an activist after portraying one of the co-accused in the 2000 rape and assault case, that is not the case. He is an activist at heart. He pursued the role, auditioning several times for the gravity of the subject matter it covered.

Asante Blackk has participated in various projects that advocate for criminal justice reforms. He participated in Project Impact, run by the UTA Foundation, back in 2021 during Black History Month.

In a conversation with Christina Swarns, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, they talked about the value of educating yourself on the subject of the criminal justice system and the importance of voting to create a policy change.

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Asante Encourages People to Consider Criminal Justice System Reform as a Whole.

The issue of reforms goes beyond some of the popular adages, saying, “You hear it all the time. People say, ‘Oh, just don’t be in the wrong place [at] the wrong time. Don’t commit crimes.’ No, it’s so much more than that.”

He references the Central Park Five case, saying, “The Central Park Case, for people that have seen When They See Us, it really does a good job of breaking down kind of how it was that these young boys at the time were innocent. But there was just this, I guess, tunnel vision of ‘we’re trying to convict you,’ so that’s all that we’re focused on right now.”

On her part, Swarns says, “There are so many thousands and thousands of other people who are in prison today who experienced exactly the same thing that we are still fighting to get out of prison.”

“Everyone in this country is supposed to be presumed innocent, and what those cases [Garner, Martin, Floyd] really highlight is how the presumption of innocence is not applied equally.”

She asserts, “We should all have the ability to walk down the street and be perceived by law enforcement as equally innocent, and that’s a problem that we as a country are still grappling with.”

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