‘Kemba’ Screens on Capitol Hill

February 7, 2024

This week the 400 Years of African American History Commission in conjunction with Congressman Robert C. Scott hosted a special viewing of Kemba followed by a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. 

Attendees at the packed event enjoyed a special pre-release screening of the film and an engaging conversation with Kemba Smith Pradia, executive producer and subject of Kemba; Saniya Gay, National Student Ambassador for the 400 Years Commission; Mr. Carlyle Holder, retired warden for the Federal Bureau of Prisons; Kara Gotsch, executive director of the Sentencing Project; and Kelley Kali, the director of Kemba. The panel was moderated by Dr. Kideste M. Yusef, PhD, who serves as an associate Professor of Criminal Justice and the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Bethune-Cookman University.

Among those in the audience included Elaine Jones, former president and director-counsel of the Legal Defense Fund who is portrayed by June Carryl in the film; Kemba’s parents Gus and Odessa Smith played by Sean Patrick Thomas and Michelle Hurd; representatives from Miss Black USA; members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a historically African American sorority who supported Kemba’s clemency campaign; and leaders from nonprofit organizations focused on reforming the criminal justice system. Also in attendance was Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams who covered the evening, writing “Kemba is a universal story. As long as our criminal justice system remains broken, there will be sequels.” Read his piece here.

Want to experience Kemba with an audience? There are several upcoming opportunities to see Kemba in-person and hear from Kemba herself alongside the cast and crew in the coming weeks. Notable events include a screening as an official selection at the esteemed Pan African Film Festival February 13 in Los Angeles and an evening with MPI Original Films in New York City on February 15. Visit KembaMovie.com for additional events! 

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