NBA star Russell Westbrook is continuing to use his name and resources to help produce untold stories for a wider audience.
Westbrook was an executive producer on Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre, a documentary that aired on the History Channel over Memorial Day weekend to note the 100th anniversary of one of American history’s worst events of racial violence. Black citizens, homes, and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district were attacked by mobs of white residents, resulting in the deaths of more than 300 people.
Up next for Westbrook will be a documentary on south Los Angeles’ Crenshaw neighborhood and the efforts to direct underprivileged youth to technology education and opportunities. Titled Why Not?, the short film follows a top high school basketball player who learns about what the tech industry can do for young people in his community.
Both the neighborhood and tech opportunities for young Black people are meaningful subjects for Westbrook. He grew up in Crenshaw and established the Why Not? Foundation in 2012 to fund school programs focusing on computer literacy and technology for Black students. In subsequent years, the foundation has expanded its outreach to help Black-owned businesses.
“A lot of the youth in Black and Brown communities look at the tech space as an almost impossible field to exist within,” said Westbrook in the official announcement for the project (via Variety). “They don’t often see themselves represented at the major tech companies of the world and they don’t see it as the ‘cool’ thing to do. Well, ‘Why Not?'”
Westbrook is partnering with Nike’s Jordan Brand and Sony Pictures’ Incubation Lab to produce the short film. Sony launched Incubation Lab last year to find “non-traditional storytellers,” including musicians, artists, designers, and athletes, and team them up with writers and filmmakers to create original content. Why Not? will be directed by Tevin Taveres (Top Class), who co-wrote the project with Lance Cameron Holloway (Grown-ish).
Neither an outlet nor premiere date for Why Not? have yet been announced.