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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO to air special adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between The World And Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Photo: Anna Webber/The New Yorker (Getty Images)

Today, HBO announced that it’s going to air a special based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ nonfiction book Between The World And Me, which is presented in the text as a letter from Coates’ to his teenage son about his life as a Black man, America’s history of systemic racism, and how white people have benefited from and enabled a white supremacist society without even necessarily being aware of it. As Vulture points out, the TV version will technically be an adaptation of the 2018 stage performance of the book at the Apollo Theater, which featured Coates’ reading excerpts, and it will also include “animation and both archival and documentary footage.”

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So, rather than an adaptation of what the book is about or what happens in the book, it’s an adaptation of the book itself. Apollo executive producer Kamilah Forbes will direct the special, with Coates saying in a statement that there’s “no one better to put Between The World And Me on screen and no better home for it than HBO.” It’ll also be produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams. HBO is apparently hoping to release Between The World And Me this fall, which seems optimistic given the coronavirus, but a combination of readings and documentary footage shouldn’t be too hard to make outside of a regular studio space.

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