Sterling K. Brown recalls hearing Simpson verdict at college: 'Black students rejoiced'

By Karen Butler  |  April 7, 2016 at 2:35 PM
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LOS ANGELES, April 7 (UPI) -- The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story co-star Sterling K. Brown says he vividly remembers where he was and how he felt when the former football great was acquitted of double homicide in 1995 after a racially charged trial in Los Angeles.

"At the time, I was a freshman at Stanford University and I was living in one of the ethnic themed houses on campus, which was for the African-Americans. So, it was 50 percent African-American, 50 percent white and when that verdict came down, the black students rejoiced. I mean, we were so happy and the other students, the non-black students, were looking at us like, 'What is there to rejoice about?'" the actor told UPI in a recent phone interview.

"And it goes back to the idea that when you have experiences with the police, with law enforcement, when you don't necessarily feel protected or served, when you have those kinds of experiences and it is two years after the Rodney King beating and the police department in Los Angeles that was under a great deal of scrutiny, when you see a man who looks like you, have the system work for him, instead of against him, it's a cause for celebration. And what white America was watching at that time, I believe, was they saw someone being acquitted of murder who didn't necessarily deserve to be acquitted of murder. They saw justice not being carried through for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, two people who had their lives taken away and the case didn't become about that. The trial didn't become about them. It became about something outside of them. It became about race and that's unfortunate. Twenty years later, I definitely am able to understand why white America was outraged with that verdict and I hope that white America understands why black America was so effusive."

Brown earned high praise for his nuanced portrayal of prosecutor Christopher Darden in the critically acclaimed miniseries, which wrapped its 10-episode run this week. It co-starred Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, John Travolta, David Schwimmer and Nathan Lane.

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