Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” went from a celebrated book praised by writing giants like Toni Morrison to No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list to being made into a stage show at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.
Then last month, HBO revealed that it’s making “Between the World and Me” into a cable production this fall, with an announcement to follow on Thursday, Aug. 13 of some of the cast for the production.
Oprah Winfrey has signed on for the cable event, as has Angela Bassett, and Bassett’s husband Courtney B. Vance. Phylicia Rashad also is part of the cast, along with The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, and actors Pauletta Washington, Joe Morton, and “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson.
“Between the World and Me,” released in 2015, was written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son. In his lyrical writing style, the author goes into what it’s like being Black in the United States, and the violence that’s been perpetrated against the Black community throughout history. Coates also writes about his Baltimore, Maryland, upbringing.
HBO’s adaptation of the book will be directed by Kamilah Forbes, who directed the Apollo Theater version, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Portions of that Apollo production will be included in the cable version and there will also be archival footage, documentary clips, animation, and the inclusion of Coates reading certain pages from the book.
As part of the cable production, HBO said it will donate money to Howard University, the Washington, D.C.-based Historically Black College and University that Coates, Rashad, Forbes and Watson attended.
“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,” said Forbes last month in a press release when the HBO show was announced. “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.”