HBO set the premiere date and added more cast members to its special event “Between the World and Me” on Wednesday, including “Moonlight” actor Mahershala Ali, political activist Angela Davis, Tip “T.I.” Harris, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the New York Times best-selling book on which the project is based.
Set to premiere on HBO on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, the special was originally adapted and made into a stage show by the Apollo Theater in 2018. For HBO, it’s being produced under COVID-19 guidelines, combining elements of that production including powerful readings from Coates’ book and documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.
Other new cast members just added are Mimi Jones, Ledisi, Greg Alverez Reid, Nate Smith and Olivia Washington. The full cast includes Angela Bassett, Alicia Garza, Jharrel Jerome, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ledisi, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Joe Morton, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Nate Smith, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michelle Wilson and Oprah Winfrey.
The special is directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes, who also directed the stage show. Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson also executive produce, with Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams producing via his One Story Up production company.
Coates’ original novel was published in 2015 as a written letter to his teenage son. It “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,” according to HBO.
Watch a teaser for the HBO special below.