Act and Blavity’s studio recently released the trailer for Kemba, a BET+ Original film about a young woman who falls in love with a drug dealer and is imprisoned for it. Despite knowing that her boyfriend is a drug kingpin, Kemba, the movie’s protagonist, stays in the relationship, groomed to overlook his illegal dealings. 

Kemba is based on the true story of Kemba Smith, who was imprisoned for her late boyfriend’s crimes

Kemba tells the story of criminal justice advocate Kemba Smith, who was imprisoned for her relationship with Peter Hall, a drug dealer. In her book, Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story, she says she feared being harmed if she broke up with Hall. Despite never using or dealing drugs, Kemba was held accountable for Hall’s crimes after his murder. 

Kemba was 24 years old when a judge sentenced her to 24 years in prison. She was a victim of the government’s harsh and unjust ‘war on drugs’, which punished first-time offenders as severely as hardened career criminals. It forced judges to hand out long sentences without considering mitigating factors, such as the physically abusive nature of Kemba’s boyfriend. 

Determined to find justice for Kemba, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund challenged Kemba’s sentence and used her case to campaign against draconian sentencing regulations. LDF obtained presidential clemency for Kemba in 2000, six and a half years into her sentence. Kemba obtained degrees in social work and law and is now an author, motivational speaker, criminal justice advocate, mother, and wife.