25 Years Later

    Can you believe it’s been 25 years since Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were killed? That event was, in many ways, a turning point in American society. The still-unsolved crime gripped, and divided, our nation – but provided a lot of entertainment along the way.

    Do you remember the world’s longest Ford Bronco commercial … aka the low-speed OJ chase. From late afternoon and well into the evening on a Friday night, many sat by their tv watching a white Bronco drive up and down the freeway waiting to see if one of the most iconic NFL sports figures would survive the night. The NBA Finals were interrupted to show continuous coverage. If you want to relive it, you can see the highlights HERE. I swear on everything I wish I had a friend like AC Cowlings. He took “ride or die” to the ultimate level.

    We were keeping up with the Kardashians long before KUWTK or Dash Clothing Stores or the Kardashian-West clan or the Jenners or the Bruce/Caitlyn transition. Robert Kardashian played a huge role in the trial of his decades-long friend to help OJ secure freedom. This trial and the media attention it garnered very likely served as a pilot light that sparked the fire of the Kardashian empire. Thanks OJ.

    In addition to fueling the Kardashian empire, the trial of the century also became the launching pad for courtroom reporting and courtroom reality television. We were brought into the courtroom every day to see the inner workings of the 11-month trial. After it was over, cameras became much more commonplace in the courtroom. Over the years we saw a surge in daytime dramas – The People’s Court, Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, Divorce Court, Judge Hatchett, Judge Faith .. just to name a few. Reality tv is cheap, unscripted, unbridled reel that is easy to produce, edit, and air. Networks LOVE them, and so do we. It’s much easier to delight in someone else’s drama than to deal with our own. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of people willing to air their drama on tv for a few bucks and 15 minutes of fame. Thank you, OJ.

    Do you remember where you were when the verdict was read? If you are over the age of 40 you probably do. The day the verdict was read, time practically stood still. The ads on Time Square were paused so the screens could show the verdict live. Oprah had her audience glued into the courtroom drama to film live reactions. In nearly every corner of America, people were gathered around the tv to see the outcome. I was living in Boston at the time – arguably one of the most racist cities in America. It was almost eerie going out for lunch in the Financial District and seeing the streets nearly empty. No one wanted to miss the grand finale of our 11-month investment. Once the not guilty verdict was read, cheers of happiness and screams of disbelief were divided along racial lines. I can assure you it was a long, quiet ride home on the T that night.

    In the years since the key players in the trial had varying degrees of notoriety and success. In my opinion, the greatest end result of the trial was the tv show: The People v OJ Simpson. That is absolute tv platinum. Courtney B. Vance, John Travolta, and Sterling K. Brown on the same screen. Not to mention the amazing supporting roles of Malcolm Jamal Warner and David Schimmer. The 10 episode account of the trial keeps you enthralled for hours. For those of us who were not living in LA at the time, it gives a bit more of a behind the scenes peek into the mood of the city and what drove many of the court’s decisions. If you didn’t see it when it originally aired in 2016, you can stream it on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Take the time to binge watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

    In all these years the only aspect missing from this trial, for me, is an explanation from Peggy York. Seriously, what the hell made you think Mark Fuhrman wouldn’t come back to bite you in the ass. Surprisingly, she and Judge Ito are still married. The theme of loyalty runs strongly throughout this trial in many ways.

    Now, 25 years later OJ Simpson is settled into a quiet Las Vegas life. I am desperately trying to cross his path so we can meet and I can have him sign some objects. HEY – die-hard Buffalo Bills fan here … don’t judge me. And the jury said he’s innocent so 🤷🏽‍♀️. The glove didn’t fit! In any case, OJ has always been a figure that’s fascinated me. I am wishing him the best in his later years. As with everything, time will tell how his life continues to play out. One thing is for sure though .. wherever he goes, so too will a video camera.

      About Nadia Gilkes