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  /  12.12.2022
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“REVOLT Black News Weekly” aired on Friday (Dec. 9) to discuss who should be held accountable for the use of Black inmates as science experiments at a Philadelphia prison, WNBA player Brittney Griner’s release from Russia, and Will Smith’s latest film, Emancipation. REVOLT Special Correspondent Rochelle Ritchie led the episode titled, “The Philadelphia Experiment: Black America’s Mistrust of Medicine; Cannabis Conversation; Black Maternal Health.”

She was joined by journalist Allen Hornblum; White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms; guest host Tezlyn Figaro; and Earle, Arkansas Mayor-elect Jaylen Smith. REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough also brought viewers the latest in celebrity news, during which she interviewed Smith about playing a slave who journeys to freedom.

Ritchie opened the show by spotlighting the city of Philadelphia, which recently issued an apology for performing unethical experiments on Black inmates at the Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s up until the 1970s. Although the facility was shut down in 1995, the families of the victims are demanding answers and accountability for the decadeslong torture and abuse their relatives sustained at the hands of University of Pennsylvania faculty member Dr. Albert M. Kilgman.

Adrianne Jones Alston told REVOLT that her father was an inmate at the Pennsylvania prison and was exposed to harmful experiments, chemicals and viruses. “My father, like a lot of other people, participated in experiments out of a need, either for commissary or a bail bonds. It was easy money because, as I was told, it wasn’t easy being incarcerated back then and not having money,” she recounted.

In a snippet from the documentary Acres of Skin, Leodus Jones, Alston’s father, described his experience while at Holmesburg Prison. “In the very beginning, they were relatively simple. They were like mild lotion studies and things of that sort. It wasn’t life-threatening, but went on to become more inhumane and more barbaric,” he professed.

Hornblum expressed to REVOLT that for decades he has fought for justice to be served on behalf of the inmates. “Somebody should have raised their hand and opposed this longtime process of abusing people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder,” he declared. “[The University of Pennsylvania] is a multimillion-dollar operation [and] Ivy League school that is training some of the best young minds in the country, yet they did not know that it was wrong to use incarcerated people as human Guinea pigs for a vast array of experiments, and I think that’s an egregious sin of omission.”

Later in the show, McCullough hosted her “Entertainment Remix” segment, where she spotlighted Netflix’s comedy film YOU PEOPLE starring Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill and Nia Long. The highly anticipated flick is slated to be released Jan. 27, 2023.

McCullough also caught up with Smith at the U.K. premiere of Emancipation, and he spoke about why he usually steers clear of movies that fall into the slavery genre.

“I’ve never wanted to work in that genre. I didn’t want to depict African Americans in that way. I saw that it wasn’t a slavery film; it was a freedom film. It was a film about a man who believed so much in God that he was able to endure the unendurable,” the icon affirmed.

Watch a quick clip from this week’s episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the new installment of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app.

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