Benji

79 minutes 2012

The entire city convulsed in grief when Ben Wilson--a point guard for Simeon Vocational High School in Auburn Gresham and the top-ranked high school basketball player in the country--was shot to death on the street by a couple of punks in November 1984. This video documentary on his life, death, and legacy was produced by ESPN, whose investment in creating sports heroes tends to work against the story's inherent tragedy: what makes Wilson's murder an outrage is that it was so routine, and that young people of promise continue to be gunned down in the streets of Chicago every year. For all the celebration of Wilson's athletic accomplishments, the most compelling personality in the video turns out to be his mother, Mary, a nurse who made the brave decision to take him off life support, delivered a stunningly dignified eulogy for him at Simeon the following afternoon, and subsequently became a powerful advocate for gun control. Coodie and Chike, best known for their hip-hop videos, directed.

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