STARZ today announced it is developing “The Case of Cyntoia Brown” limited drama series inspired by the story of Cyntoia Brown-Long who served 15 years of a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 years old. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, executive producer of the STARZ “Power” Universe series and “Black Mafia Family,” and his G-Unit Film & Television executive produce with La La Anthony (“Power,” “The Chi”), who has been a long-time supporter of Brown-Long’s and brought the project to G-Unit. Santa Sierra (“Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” “Vida,” “Narcos”), a co-executive producer, is writing the limited series. Brown-Long and her husband Jamie Long will consult on the project.
Based on Brown-Long’s book, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, the series tells the story of Cyntoia Brown-Long who was sex trafficked by a boyfriend, tried as an adult at 16 years old and sentenced to life in prison for aggravated robbery and first-degree murder. Despite being a minor, the sentence required her to serve at least 51 years before being eligible for parole consideration, which would not make her eligible for parole until she was 67.
“We’re honored to be entrusted with Cyntoia’s story, which shines a light on the injustice of a system that tried and sentenced an at-risk minor as an adult when she was a victim herself of sex trafficking,” said Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for STARZ. “This limited series from Curtis, La La and Santa chronicles Cyntoia’s long journey to freedom and furthers our #TakeTheLead programming mandate centered on narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.”
For years, Brown-Long maintained that the 2004 killing was an act of self-defense. Over the years, the fight for her release brought prominent lawyers to her defense and support from celebrities in addition to Anthony including LeBron James, Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna. While incarcerated, Brown-Long earned her associates and bachelor’s degrees while also mentoring at-risk youth.
She was granted clemency and released in 2019 and now advocates for criminal justice reform and victims of trafficking. Her case also inspired the introduction of state legislation aimed at protecting minors who are victims of sex trafficking. Since her conviction, juvenile sentencing guidelines in Tennessee have been amended: now, children under the age of 18 cannot be tried for prostitution. If she were to be arrested today, Brown-Long would be treated as a child human trafficking victim.
The scripted series is developed through Jackson’s overall deal through his G-Unit Film & Television, Inc. banner with STARZ. Senior Vice President of Original Programming Kathryn Tyus-Adair is the executive overseeing the series on behalf of STARZ.
STARZ recently launched its #TakeTheLead initiative, the company’s comprehensive effort to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.
STARZ (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company, is a leading global media streaming platform committed to delivering premium content that amplifies narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. STARZ is home to the highly-rated and first-of-its-kind STARZ app that offers the ability to stream or download STARZ premium content, as well as the flagship domestic STARZ(R) service, including STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels, and the associated on-demand and online services. In 2018, STARZ launched its STARZPLAY international premium streaming platform to provide subscribers access to the “best of global SVOD.” STARZPLAY, coupled with its STARZPLAY ARABIA joint venture, has expanded its global footprint into more than 55 countries throughout Europe and Latin America along with Canada, Japan, India and Indonesia. STARZ and STARZPLAY are available across digital OTT platforms and multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies around the world. In February 2021, STARZ launched #TakeTheLead, a multi-faceted and innovative inclusion initiative expanding its existing efforts to improve representation on screen, behind the camera and throughout the company.
ABOUT CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON AND G-UNIT FILM & TELEVISION
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is coming off record ratings and a Season 2 renewal for POWER BOOK II: GHOST, the first of four green-lit POWER spinoffs. POWER BOOK III: RAISING KANAN is the third installment in the expanding POWER Universe franchise. The prequel takes viewers back to the ’90s and the early years of the now-deceased iconic POWER character Kanan Stark, portrayed by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Additionally, G-Unit is ramping up for Season 1 production on BLACK MAFIA FAMILY at STARZ, Season 2 of G-Unit produced FOR LIFE at ABC returned from a Winter hiatus and G-Unit produced comedy FAMILY AFFAIR landed at ABC after a multi-network bidding war in November. The G-Unit slate also includes THE 50TH LAW at Netflix, A MOMENT IN TIME: MASSACRE and UNT. FEMALE SPORTS AGENT at STARZ, and TWENTY FOUR SEVEN at Paramount+ among many other upcoming and to-be-announced projects.