Russell Westbrook Talks Being Executive Producer on Tulsa Massacre Docuseries

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2021

Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook announced Friday that Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre, the documentary series he is executive producing, is scheduled to premiere on the History Channel at a date to-be-determined this spring

Westbrook announced the news on Twitter:

Russell Westbrook @russwest44

Excited to bring this project to life about such a significant event in American history.  Coming this spring to @HISTORY https://t.co/peQQSsjmq8

The project, directed by Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams, will examine the Tulsa massacre which took place between May 31-June 1, 1921. Black residents and Black-owned businesses in the city's Greenwood district were attacked by a mob of white citizens. An official death toll has never been released, though estimates have put the total around 300, and thousands more were left without their homes and livelihoods. 

Westbrook spoke about the project with Trevor Noah during an appearance on Thursday's The Daily Social Distancing Show With Trevor Noah (h/t Andrew Gillis of NBC Sports Washington): 

"It's crazy because being in Oklahoma for 11 years, I was able to connect with the people and connect with the history of the community. To me, that's the most important part. Been able to travel to Tulsa up and back through my years there. I didn't know anything about the Tulsa Massacre, Black Wall Street, until I got there. Once I heard about it, I was in shock. I was surprised nobody, especially our African-American communities, people that have Black-owned businesses don't understand and didn't understand the impact the massacre had on the world and how it can change our future."

Per The Oklahoman's Brandy McDonnell, the History Channel will also team with Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation, Endeavor, RedFlight Innovation and Values Partnerships to create a campaign to engage young people in the history of Black Wall Street and encourage investment in Black communities.

Westbrook has deep ties to the state of Oklahoma after spending 11 seasons playing for the Thunder from 2008-19.