Will Smith and Jay Z Are Making an Emmett Till Mini-series for HBO

Partners again. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty and Jeffrey Mayer/Getty

On the heels of their collaboration last year for the musical Annie, Jay Z and Will Smith are teaming up once again: They've signed on to executive-produce a mini-series about Emmett Till for HBO. In 1955, 14-year-old Till was lynched by a white mob in Mississippi in what's known as one of America's most brutal hate crimes. His mother famously had an open-casket funeral for her son so that newspapers would print photos of the gruesome nature of Till's attack. Till's killers were acquitted but later confessed to murdering the teen. Smith and Jay Z, along with Jay Brown, James Lassiter, and Aaron Kaplan, will bring "an immersive and in depth exploration" of Till's story to HBO for what's expected to be a six-hour series. So far the mini-series is untitled and has no writers onboard. Also in the works are two competing Emmett Till movies: one spearheaded by Roger Ebert's widow, Chaz; and another based on the play The Face of Emmett Till.