Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between The World And Me’ Heads To HBO

Written by Ann Brown
Renowned author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling book, “Between the World And Me” is heading to HBO for development. Photo: Ta-Nehisi Coates attends a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 19, 2019. Coates’ first novel, “The Water Dancer,” was among the nominees for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Renowned author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestselling book, “Between the World and Me” is heading to HBO, where a previous stage production of the 2015 book will be adapted for TV. The show is expected to air in the fall, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The book was originally adapted by Harlem’s Apollo Theater in 2018. The HBO project will feature readings from the book, documentary, and archival footage, and animation. Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes will direct for HBO.

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

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

“Between the World and Me” is in the form of a letter Coates wrote to his teenage son. In it, he discusses life as a Black person living in America. It also explores the concept that American society structurally supports white supremacy.

“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, a friend of Coates’ since their time together at Howard University. “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.”

Coates has not always been a fan of how Black people are portrayed on TV. He told the Nib, “There is an implicit message in American film in American TV — which is probably the largest instrument for deploying American mythology — that Black people are subhuman.”

The Nib is a daily publication devoted to publishing and promoting political and non-fiction comics, journalism, essays, memoir, and satire about what is happening in the world.

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“Between the World and Me” introduced many readers to the works of Coates, who has become a prominent voice in the reparations movement. Coates has “focused his career on exploring power and race through fiction, nonfiction, and superhero comics,” the Nib reported.

The upcoming HBO program will be released on HBO and streaming service HBO Max, Forbes reported.

“Between the World and Me” topped bestseller lists when it debuted and won the National Book Award in 2015. It was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2016.