between the world and me

Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ Between the World and Me stage show, adapted from his book of the same, is being adapted by HBO. This isn’t a filmed version of that show, but rather something that combines elements of that production with documentary footage and animation. The stage production, which played at the Apollo Theater in 2018, took the “difficult but necessary conversations around Black life and death and places them center stage.”

Published in 2015, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me was written as a letter to the author’s teenage son, and “recounts the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city and his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community. The narrative explores Coates’ bold notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy.” The book became a New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award winner, and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The book was then adapted into a stage show after Kamilah Forbes, a close friend of Coates who is featured in the book, was inspired to adapt it to the stage after reading it. Here’s how the production was described:

A profound work that pivots from the biggest questions around racism and police violence to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Between the World and Me offers a powerful framework for understanding our nation’s history and asks: What is it like to inhabit a Black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me, both the book and the theatrical event, is an eye-opening, emotional look inside these conversations.

And here’s a look at it.

Between the World and Me

And now, Between the World and Me is headed to HBO. The HBO adaptation will combine elements from the stage show along with readings from the book, documentary footage, archival footage, and animation. Kamilah Forbes will direct while Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson will serve as executive producers, with Roger Ross Williams producing.

“Ta-Nehisi’s book is a modern literary classic that provides an essential message for our times,” said Casey Bloys, President, HBO Programming. “We are tremendously proud to bring this incredibly important event to our audiences.”

Kamilah Forbes added: “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 the cry for justice from the Black community continue to reach a broader audience.”

“I’ve been working with Kamilah for almost as long as I’ve been a writer,” said Ta-Nehisi Coates. “I can think of no one better to put Between the World and Me on screen and no better home for it than HBO.”

The production will be available on HBO and HBO Max this fall.

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