HBO’s ‘Black and Missing’ documentary lauded on Twitter

The series follows Derrica and Natalie Wilson, founders of the "Black and Missing Foundation."

A new HBO docuseries highlighting racial disparities in missing persons cases across the country is receiving praise on Twitter for bringing attention to an issue many say is oft-overlooked.

The four-part series Black and Missing is a joint effort from Emmy-winner Geeta Gandbhir and journalist, author and activist Soledad O’Brien. It follows Derrica and Natalie Wilson, sisters-in-law and founders of the Black and Missing Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to prove “equal opportunity for all missing.” 

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

The series highlights the foundation’s “uphill battle to bring awareness to the Black missing persons cases that are marginalized by law enforcement and national media.”

The first two episodes debuted on Nov. 23, with the final two episodes airing the following day on Nov. 24. All four episodes are now available to stream on HBO Max.

“If you have access to HBO, please take the time to watch the documentary ‘Black and Missing,’” a Twitter user wrote. “It needs to be seen and this subject needs needs so much more attention. Missing black people, especially women, get so very little attention and media coverage. This needs to change.”

BNC News correspondent Candace Kelley praised the “must watch” series for bringing “awareness to the Black missing persons cases that are marginalized by – well – everyone.”

“‘Black and Missing’ was such an awesome documentary…,” another wrote, adding that “The Black and Missing Foundation is doing the Lord’s work, and the hard work, for our loved ones!!”

While the series has been in development for some time, it premieres at a time filled with national conversation surrounding “missing white woman syndrome,” especially related to the case of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, a New York woman who captured protracted national attention when she went missing. 

After Petito was found dead, it was believed her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who himself was found dead earlier this month, murdered her.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid called out the massive media coverage for Petito’s case as compared to cases of missing Black women that The ReidOut host said are comparatively underreported.

“The way this story captivated the nation,” Reid told her viewers, “has many wondering why not the same media attention when people of color go missing? Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White Woman Syndrome, the term coined by the late and great Gwen Ifill to describe the media and public fascination with missing white women like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway while ignoring cases involving of people of color.”

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

Derrica, who appeared as a guest on Reid’s Monday show alongside Lynette Grey Bull of Not Our Native Daughters Foundation, pointed out a case of Daniel Robinson, a missing 24-year-old young Black man who disappeared after a car crash in Arizona in June, yet the case is only now starting to get national media attention. 

As previously reported, Robinson was last seen driving away from his job site in the Buckeye, Arizona desert on Jun. 23. His father, David Robinson, has been organizing search parties, launched a website, and he even hired a private investigator after he felt law enforcement wasn’t providing much help. Their family has set up a GoFundMe to continue their search for Daniel.

Reid noted that she had not heard of Daniel Robinson’s case until a friend shared the information with her. 

“It is definitely the issue,” said Wilson. “And we have been sounding the alarm for nearly 14 years because of this. When it comes to missing persons of color, men, women and children, our cases are not taken seriously, and no one is looking for us if we were to go missing.” 

theGrio’s Jared Alexander and Biba Adams contributed to this report.

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