“Between the World and Me” to Air Saturday at 8 EST on HBO With Mahershala Ali and Angela Bassett

What can a Black person expect living in the U.S.?

That’s the central question Ta-Nehisi Coates answers in his book, “Between the World and Me,” published in 2015 – a question spun forward in an HBO film (Saturday, 8 EST/PST), adapted from a stage production of Coates’ work that features Mahershala Ali and Angela Bassett.

The movie, like the book, is structured as an open letter to Coates’ adolescent son Samori about what to expect as a Black person living in the U.S., and the words still ring true in 2020 in the face of institutional racism and police brutality.

The 2018 stage adaptation premiered at the Apollo Theater in New York, and his since been performed in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., with  a rotating cast of actors. More performances were scheduled until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, says director Kamilah Forbes.

“Between the World and Me” has been a regular presence on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List, won the National Book Award and received new attention last summer when the Black Lives Matter protests led to a surge in sales for books about race and racism.

This summer’s protests got everyone thinking about how to bring “Between the World and Me” back, and conversations with networks began, Forbes says. This way, “people could still see and still experience the work that we felt was even that much more timely right now.”

Like the stage adaptation, the film features a series of actors reading Coates’ words. “I related to everything he said, so I wanted to find a way in: How do we take a body of voices that embody one man’s voice?” Forbes says.

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SOURCE: USA Today, David Oliver