See Mahershala Ali’s Tearful Black Lives Matter Tribute from HBO’s ‘Between the World and Me’ squib


Between the World and Me, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’ taut, searing memoir—framed as a letter to his teenage son, and born of his impassioned debates with former President Barack Obama—is a clarion call for action, and accountability. It traces Coates’ onerous upbringing in racially segregated Baltimore—an area, like much of America, rife with discrimination and overpolicing—and under the belt of his abusive father; his formative years at Howard University, and in Paris; and rise up the literary ranks.

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates,” wrote the great Toni Morrison. “The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.”

On Sunday, Nov. 22, a film adaptation of Coates’ tome will premiere. Directed by Kamilah Forbes, who previously helmed a version for the stage at the Apollo Theater and Kennedy Center, it features a host of Black talent—Coates, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Mahershala Ali, and many more—reading passages from Between the World and Me, as video and images of the Black struggle in America play on screen.

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