Viola Davis and Julius Tennon are giving us a story that is often overlooked by our country because…well… history books love protecting or sweeping white supremacy under the rug.
According to Deadline, The duo’s JuVee Productions is teaming with Brad Pitt’s Plan B to develop a scripted series at amazon based on the story of Bruce’s Beach, which was a beach resort in SoCal’s Manhattan Beach that was owned by Willa and Charles Bruce. It was a destination that flourished as a safe beach space for the Black community in a time of racial segregation during the early 1900s. The series plans to explore the dynamic life of the Bruce’s Beach community in the spirit of Black livelihood and leisure, as envisioned by the Bruce family in its creation.
But as with all institutions made for and by non-white people during that time, things did not end well because of there are many white people who don’t like it when people of color are happy. The KKK terrorized Bruce’s Beach and city law enforcement until the Manhattan Beach City Counsel officially took the land from the Bruce Family through eminent domain proceedings in 1924. As a result, the resort was shut down.
The timing of the announcement of the series is hyper-relevant as there has been an. effort to return the land to the owners’ descendants. Descendants of the Bruce family have been pushing for a restoration of the land which is worth a pretty penny. The family is also fighting for restitution for their losses from the City of Manhattan Beach — as they should. Deadline says two parcels of the land closest to the surf became owned by the state of California in 1948 and were transferred to L.A. County in 1995. A bill that would allow the county to return the two parcels back to Bruce descendants is headed for a vote in the full California Senate.
The series will be based on Alison Rose Jefferson’s book “Bruce’s Beach, Living The California Dream: African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era” which was acquired by Amazon Studios. The author will step in serve as a consulting producer, while Plan B’s Gabby Shepard and JuVee’s Andrew Wang will executive produce. Bruce family member Anthony Bruce, will serve as a consultant on the series. Family member and spokesperson Chief Duane “Yellow Feather” Shepard will serve as a consulting producer, with fellow family member Jason Jones also serving as a consultant.
Hollywood take note: this is how you build an authentic story.