HBO to Air Special Production Based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME This Fall
HBO is presenting a special production based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ National Book Award-winning, New York Times bestselling book, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME (One World), this Fall, it was announced in The Hollywood Reporter. Originally adapted by Harlem’s Apollo Theater in 2018, this special will feature readings from the book as well as documentary and archival footage, plus animation. Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes will be the director.
“I’ve been working with Kamilah almost as long as I’ve been a writer,” said Coates. “I can think of no one better to put Between the World and Me onscreen and no better home for it than HBO.”
HBO Programming president Casey Bloys said, “Ta-Nehisi’s book is a modern literary classic that provides an essential message for our times. We are tremendously proud to bring this incredibly important event to our audiences.”
Written as a letter from Coates to his adolescent son, Between the World and Me shares the story of Coates’ awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
Kamilah Forbes said, “As people across our country continue to speak out about violent, systemic racism and the urgent need for tangible change, Ta-Nehisi’s words resonate as strongly today as they did five years ago. I’m excited to collaborate again with both Ta-Nehisi and HBO on this important special event, ensuring that the powerful voices in this work, and cry for justice from the Black community, continues to reach a broader audience.”
Forbes, who became friends with Coates when they attended Howard University, is featured in Between the World and Me . Susan Kelechi Watson (This Is Us), also a Howard alumna, took part in the staged readings at the Apollo and Washington’s Kennedy Center and will executive produce with Coates and Forbes. Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence, HBO’s The Apollo) produces via his One Story Up production company.
“Through Between the World and Me we intend to create a space of communion where Black people can metabolize our grief, celebrate our joys and continue to amplify the current discourse regarding race and culture in our country and around the world,” said Watson. “Ta-Nehisi’s words lend themselves to an experience that is shared by so many of us. I’m thrilled to work with HBO and these brilliant minds on a special that is both timely and urgent.”
In addition to producing the special, HBO will make donations to Howard University and the Apollo Theater.