This time around, nine new players have joined the fray, including Mahershala Ali, Angela Davis and Ta-Nehisi Coates himself. HBO has also announced that the special will premiere Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special will combine elements of that production, including 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, which is currently in production under COVID-19 guidelines, will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
The new cast members also include Angela Davis, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Mimi Jones, Ledisi, Greg Alverez Reid, Nate Smith and Olivia Washington.
It is described as an exploration into Black Americans’ fraught history within the country and questions including what it means to live in a Black body. The book is written in the style of a letter to Coates’ teenage son, telling stories of Coates’ experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city, his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community and his notion that the structure of American society supports white supremacy.
HBO has also released a teaser for the special:
Director Kamilah Forbes executive produces alongside Coates, Susan Kelechi Watson and Roger Ross Williams.
Check out the impressive, full cast list below:
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.