TULSA, Okla. — "I played sort of a bad LAPD officer."
Lawrence Moran played a racist police officer in one of Hollywood's biggest movies, "Straight Outta Compton," but life doesn't always imitate art.
“Born and raised in West Hollywood, but I’m a 95 alumni of Langston University,” says Moran, an actor and filmmaker.
That's where Moran got a crash course in history.
“And at that time the vernacular was the Tulsa Race Riots and our professor would always say this is a massacre, this was a massacre.”
A history neither he nor his classmates have read about before.
“There were African Americans, there were whites," says Moran. "It was the first time ever heard of this.”
Moran is using what he learned in Hollywood to tell the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Debbie Tucker is an aspiring actress and wants to help tell that story.
"I'm Debbie Tucker. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma," says Tucker. "The name of my character is just called older woman. Imagine that."
Debbie says she's more than just an older white woman and wonders why the massacre was never talked about growing up.
“I graduated from high school in 1970," Tucker mentions. "I took Oklahoma history and there was nothing. I don’t understand how that got omitted or deleted.”
Nowata native Camrie Liddell is auditioning for the role of Loula Williams, one of the main characters of the film. She graduated in 2020.
“In Nowata, it’s not that big of a thing that’s taught and so like whenever Black History Month comes, it’s always Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks," says Liddell. "It’s the same stuff and like a lot of people around here don’t know what happened in Tulsa.”
Each actor says this project is more than just a movie. It's about bringing change.
"We are better than this, we can be better than this. Our children will know that we are going to be better.”
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