Ta-Nehisi Coates’s nonfiction work Between the World and Me, a powerful letter to his teenage son looking back on his life through the lens of structural racism, is coming to HBO as a special this fall. Technically, they’re adapting the Apollo Theater’s 2018 stage performance, which featured readings from the New York Times best seller. The special will also include animation and both archival and documentary footage. Kamilah Forbes, executive producer of the Apollo and an old friend of Coates’s (she’s even in the book), will once again direct the adaptation, as well as executive produce. “I’ve been working with Kamilah for almost as long as I’ve been a writer,” Coates said in a statement. “I can think of no one better to put Between the World and Me on screen and no better home for it than HBO.” Coates and This Is Us actress Susan Kelechi Watson both serve as executive producers. Roger Ross Williams, Oscar winner and director of HBO’s documentary The Apollo, comes on as a producer. The 2018 production of Between the World and Me was included in The Apollo, which looked back at the legendary theater’s history. “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,” Forbes added. “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.” Between the World and Me is slated to hit HBO this fall.
Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for NAACP LDF