Five years ago, Jay-Z and Will Smith joined forces to produce a miniseries on Emmett Till for HBO, but it never hit the screen. Now, however, with a different writer on board and an entirely new angle, it’ll be aired on ABC.
The miniseries, tentatively called “Women of the Movement” according to Deadline, will tell the story of Till through the perspective of his mother Mamie Till, who famously sought justice for her son’s murder.
Till was just 14 years old when he was lynched in Money, Mississippi, after he was accused of making a pass at Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white woman who owned a local grocery store. In 2007 she admitted to embellishing her story, however, while speaking to author Timothy Tyson.
Bryant’s husband Roy and J. W. Milam, his half-brother, tortured Till, shot him in the head and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River after they found him.
The men were eventually acquitted by an all-white male jury but later admitted to their crimes.
Jay-Z will produce the eight-episode project under the Roc Nation umbrella, along with Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith. Meanwhile, Will Smith and James Lassiter will produce it through their company Overbrook Entertainment.
The miniseries will also be based on the Devery S. Anderson book “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement.”
Plus, it’s been reported the next season of “Women of the Movement” may feature Rosa Parks, who supposedly once said she refused to give up her seat later in December 1955 to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, because she “thought of Emmett Till” and “just couldn’t go back” further in the black section of the bus to allow a the white rider to sit after the whites-only section was full, as the bus line’s rules dictated at the time.
(Parks, who had been a secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP since 1943, actually did not spontaneously decide that day to undertake that action that would make her famous and launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Apparently, the producers hope to use the story of Emmett Till and his mother as a tie-in to Parks’ story.)
Jay-Z and Smith partnered together in 2014 as well, when they co-produced the film “Annie.”