Commuted – Director Nailah Jefferson

In 1993, Danielle Metz, a 26-year-old mother of two young children, was labeled a drug kingpin by the U.S. Government as a part of her husband’s drug ring. Sentenced to a triple life plus 20 years for nonviolent drug offenses, she was sent to Dublin Federal Correctional Institute in California, more than two thousand miles from her family in New Orleans. In 2016, after having served 23 years in prison, Metz’s sentence was commuted by the President Barack Obama Administration’s Clemency Initiative to address historically unfair sentencing practices during the “War on Drugs” campaign. Now back home, she is stepping into a different reality – starting life again while helping other women avoid a similar fate. COMMUTED traces Metz’s journey in confronting the wounds of incarceration that linger long after parole, and to finding purpose, love and unification with her two grown children. Director Nailah Jefferson joins us to talk about how she learned about Danielle and her plight, some of the issues and hurdles that Danielle has faced and where are we, as a nation, in bringing about a more equitable system of justice to all Americans.


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STREAMING APRIL 1 on YouTube and the PBS app
A Co-presentation of AfroPop and America Reframed premiering Monday April 1 at 8 PM. Streaming on April 1 on YouTube and the PBS app


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About the filmmaker – Nailah Jefferson is a native New Orleans filmmaker intrigued and inspired by the enduring human spirit, whose films span fiction and nonfiction. Nailah’s recent work includes DONYALE LUNA: SUPERMODEL (HBO 2023), COMMUTED (NOFF 2023, PBS 2024), and DESCENDED FROM THE PROMISED LAND: THE LEGACY OF BLACK WALL STREET (DOC NYC 2021). Her acclaimed work has been distributed domestically and internationally on the film festival circuit, theatrically and televised. Nailah’s debut documentary ‘Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache’, told the story of the little known African American oyster fishing community in Louisiana in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. The film was streamed on Netflix and the Urban Movie Channel. In 2017, Nailah’s short documentary for Essence Magazine’s “Black Girl Magic Episode 4,” was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award. That same year, Nailah’s first narrative film, “Plaquemines,” was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is currently available on HBO/ Cinemax platforms. Nailah’s work has been supported by organizations including the Tribeca Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Films, Black Public Media, ITVS and Firelight Media. Visit Nailah’s website.

About AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange spotlights contemporary stories reflecting the spirit, ingenuity and resilience found among people of the African diaspora. AfroPoP recognizes that nonfiction – and Afro-futurism in particular – has provided a critical tool for Black storytellers to define present and future realities on their own terms, giving Black storytellers the necessary space for new conversations, investigations and observations. By embracing fiction and nonfiction stories, AfroPoP acknowledges that there is no distinction in the power of both genres to offer audiences deep insight into the global Black Experience.