Screenwriter John Ridley on humanizing racial tensions

Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley on how TV drama can reshape our understanding of crime and racism.
How can a TV drama reshape our understanding of crime and racism? '12 Years a Slave' screenwriter John Ridley weighs in. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Following its 2015 debut, American Crime quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television.

The incisive television drama explores the aftermath of a deadly home invasion — but instead of focusing on forensics and detective work, it foregrounds the families affected by crime. 

John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave, created the show while taking in all-too-relevant headlines, from the Trayvon Martin story to the clashes in Ferguson.

He joins Shad to discuss his distinct approach, its connection to real world events, and whether he feels art should serve a social purpose.

*This segment originally aired May 5, 2015