WarnerMedia announced on Wednesday that the special, which will air on HBO on November 21, will feature Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, Alicia Garza, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Jharrel Jerome, Mimi Jones, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ledisi, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Joe Morton, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Greg Alverez Reid, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Nate Smith, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Olivia Washington, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michelle Wilson, and Oprah Winfrey.
The 2015 “Between the World and Me” non-fiction book, written by Coates and formatted as a letter to his teenage son, centers on the author’s thoughts and experiences on being Black in the United States. Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, HBO’s special will combine elements of that production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and will once again be directed by Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes. It will also incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.
The special is directed by Forbes, who executive produces alongside Coates, Watson, and Roger Ross Williams. The “Between the World and Me” book is one of Coates’ three acclaimed non-fiction books; Coates also has written Black Panther and Captain America series for Marvel Comics and worked for publications such as The Atlantic and Time.
“Between the World and Me” is one of several prominent productions that “Moonlight” star Ali has been involved in recently. Ali received acclaim for his portrayal of Wayne Hays in “True Detective” Season 3 in 2019 and recently appeared in other well-received series such as “Ramy” and “Room 104,” as well as films such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Green Book.”
HBO released a brief animated teaser on Wednesday to advertise the impending premiere of “Between the World and Me,” which promises that the special will discuss both historical and recent issues, such as American slavery and recent protests regarding police brutality and systemic racism.
Check out the teaser for HBO’s “Between the World and Me” below: