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.
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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.