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Large southern rites

HBO to Premiere Doc About Racially Desegregated Proms

It’s both crazy and deeply saddening to think that racial segregation can still exist in these modern American times, but, unfortunately, that’s the case.

Premiering Monday, May 18, on HBO, filmmaker Gillian Laub's powerful documentary Southern Rites (executive-produced by John Legend) takes an in-depth look at Montgomery County, Georgia, located 150 miles outside of Atlanta, in 2009 and 2010, when the county’s history of racially divided high school proms was finally ended, resulting in the students’ first opportunity to have an all-are-welcome experience. The prom’s optimistic vibes were damaged, though, when a white man was charged with killing a 22-year-old black man, a tragedy that happened right as Calvin Burns was lobbying to become the county’s first black sheriff.

It’s a whirlwind of intimate drama and thought-provoking questions, about racial politics, human compassion, and confusing injustices. The Daily Beast recently debuted an exclusive first look at Southern Rites, which you can preview here before tuning into HBO on May 18, 9 p.m. EST, for the film’s premiere.