In the Netflix show When They See Us, which covers the wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration of the Central Park Five, viewers learn the shocking tragedies that Korey Wise has to go through. This includes his lengthy prison sentence, as well as the murder of his transgender sister, Marci Wise.
Wise, who changed his first named from Kharey to Korey, has never spoken about his sister, and rarely gives interviews in general. However, the show’s portrayal of his sister’s transition (she was born Norman Wise) has been lauded; Wise’s other sister, Vanity Wise, thanked the show for shining a spotlight on her sister’s experience, but also challenged some of the ways in which her family was rendered in the show.
Here’s what you need to know:
Wise’s Sister Thanks Ava DuVernay For Shining a Spotlight on Her Sister’s Life
On Twitter, Vanity L.A. Wise tweeted, “
@ava @MsIsisKing @NiecyNash Thank you for portraying my sister Marci & my family with respect in When They See Us. Thank you sooo much, I just had to say this because it meant a lot yet surprised me that Marci was included in the film So Again Thank You”
Unfortunately, there is virtually no available record of the circumstances surrounding Marci’s apparent death.
However, Vanity Wise, who is Korey’s youngest sibling and is also transgender, shed further light on her experience watching the show in an Instagram post following the release of the show. Here’s a picture of Marci, provided by Vanity:
Here is her full post:
This has been such an emotional weekend for me to relive it all that #Netflix #WhenTheySeeUs has presented to the world.
Being the youngest sibling of Korey Wise it was never easy growing up in the same area for 21yrs of my life but to be born the same year as all this has occurred I’m only capable of knowing most of my mom’s perspective.
I’m thankful for a somewhat beautiful portrayal on my family & thankful for allowing my brother to get his truth out.
How my mother Deloris Wise was portrayed wasn’t the mother I was raised with because she is an outspoken & a very supportive mother who wasn’t a single mother until 1996, when my father passed away from Cancer which was also all my siblings same father but wasn’t represented in the film. My mom made sure to be there for Korey on the monthly bases by taking us to visit Korey for 15yrs of my life from Attica, Buffalo to Auburn NY. My mom sent many big boxes of care packages for most of his time incarcerated.
I don’t think the scene where my mom disapproved of Marci’s transition was needed for public value in that film. As a trans woman today my sister meant the world to me & this month will mark 17yrs she has been gone.
I love my mom dearly & she deserves so much more respect than what was given.
I will not degrade this film but the Wise family was more than what was represented.
Thank you for allowing me to vent this out because it was needed but here are photos of my dad & I visiting my brother along with an unfortunate distorted photo of the real Marci.
(Yes I do have better photos but do not wish to dig for them momentarily)
But thank you again to all??
According to Vanity Fair, Wise spent a portion of his prison time at Rikers Island, and experienced years of violence, solitary confinement, abuse, and rarely received visits from his family. Director DuVernay told the publication that Wise is a “walking miracle,” saying,
I’ve never met anyone like him. Every time I sit with him and every time I talk to him, I think, How are you walking and talking? When you hear, see what he’s gone through, he’s a walking miracle, he really is. And he’s really brilliant. I call him ‘the Prophet,’ because you sit down with Korey for a while and you come away with some gems. I’m lucky that I have that.”