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Between The World And Me

First published in 2015, Between The World And Me was written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son, and recounts the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city and his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community. The narrative explores Coates’ bold notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy.

Based on the 2018 adaptation and staging of the book at the Apollo Theater, the HBO Special combines elements of the Apollo’s production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and incorporates documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.

Between The World And Me is directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson. Roger Ross Williams and his production company One Story Up will produce.

The Black Narrative of Between The World And Me

“This is what I’ve been trying to do say, but did not have the language.” Hear cast and crew discuss the significance of the special and its words.

Behind The Scenes4:32
Relevance + Reflections

“This point of view is very real, and this experience is very real.” Phylicia Rashad, Oprah Winfrey, Joe Morton, and more members of the cast and crew share their thoughts on the special.

It Started With a Book

The creators, crew and more discuss adapting Between The World And Me for the stage and the screen.

The Apollo Panel

Deirdre Hollman engages in a rich discussion with Abimbola Kai-Lewis, Rich Blint and Kai Green about their immediate thoughts after watching the special, supplementary reading for deeper understanding and the importance of cultural literacy.

The Collegiate Panel

Dr. Daphne Brooks, Dr. Natalie Hopkinson and Jason Moran discuss how their relationship to the work has evolved, interpreting the special as a Black feminist meditation and the scenes that resonated with them.

The Kennedy Center Panel

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Jason Wallace, Alicia Garza and Tony Lewis discuss the impact of gender on political progress, how hip-hop has shaped their generation’s understanding of manhood and HBCUs as cultivating grounds for nurturing notions of gender politics.

The Craft

Robyn Davis

Production Manger and COVID-19 Compliance Officer discusses managing an expansive crew while staying COVID-safe.

Alisa Payne

The producer dives into the meaning of the film and what it means for future generations.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Executive producer of the special, and author of the same-titled book, Coates delves into the experiences that inspired Between The World And Me.

Susan Kelechi Watson

The executive producer and actor discusses how she helped bring the special to life.

Behind The Scenes2:35
Kamilah Forbes

Director Forbes details the process of reimagining Between The World And Me and what she hopes the special accomplishes along the way.

Roger Ross Williams

The executive producer talks about the nuances of the special, and the journey that allowed him to be a part of it.


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