HBO continues to add incredible talent to its upcoming special production of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In July it was announced that HBO would be adapting Coates’ best-selling book into a special production airing this fall. Last month, HBO announced the involvement of numerous all-star talent, including Oprah, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance and more. Today, the second wave of talented cast members were announced, adding Jharrel Jerome, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Wendell Pierce, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi and Michelle Wilson to the production.
The special will be an adaptation from the stage production that was featured at the Apollo Theater in 2018 and will include archival footage and readings from Coates’ book. A premiere date hasn’t been announced yet, but “fall” is quickly approaching so hopefully we will get one soon. Check out all the details regarding this excellent second wave of cast members below!
HBO Special Event BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME Adds Jharrel Jerome, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Wendell Pierce, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi And Michelle Wilson To All-Star Cast
Director Kamilah Forbes Executive Produces With Ta-Nehisi Coates, Susan Kelechi Watson and Roger Ross Williams
LOS ANGELES, August 26, 2020 – The second wave of featured performers has been announced for HBO’s adaptation of the critically acclaimed stage show, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME, based on the #1 New York Times bestseller of the same name by author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Additional cast will include: Jharrel Jerome, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Wendell Pierce, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi and Michelle Wilson. Additional cast to be announced.
Previously announced cast includes: Angela Bassett, Alicia Garza, Joe Morton, Phylicia Rashad, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson and Oprah Winfrey.
Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special will combine elements of that production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and will once again be directed by award-winning director and 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, debuts this fall on HBO and will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
Jharrel Jerome starred as the lead in Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix limited series “When They See Us,” for which he won the 2019 Emmy® for Lead Actor in a Miniseries, the 2020 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television, and the 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. His performance also earned him a nomination for a 2020 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series. Jerome made his feature film debut in Barry Jenkins’ film “Moonlight,” for which he and his cast mates earned countless accolades including the Academy Award for Best Picture, Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Film and an MTV Movie Award. He can next be seen starring in Ricky Staub’s feature “Concrete Cowboys” opposite Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Additional film credits include “Selah And The Spades,” “Robu,” “Monster,” and “First Match.” On television, Jharrel was seen in all three seasons of AT&T Audience Network’s drama series “Mr. Mercedes.” In addition to acting, Jharrel writes and records his own music which has been featured on the first two seasons of “Mr. Mercedes.”
Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In pursuit of affirmations of black life in the public realm, he co-founded the Life is Living Festival for Youth Speaks and created the installation Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos for Creative Time. Joseph’s opera libretto, We Shall Not Be Moved, was named one of 2017’s “Best Classical Music Performances” by The New York Times. His evening length work, /peh-LO-tah/, successfully toured across North America for three years, including at BAM’s Harvey Theater as a part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival. His piece, “The Just and the Blind” investigates the crisis of over-sentencing in the prison industrial complex and premiered at a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2019. Bamuthi is currently at work on commissions for the Perelman Center, Yale University, and the Washington National Opera as well as a new collaboration with NYC Ballet Artistic Director Wendy Whelan. Formerly the Chief of Program and Pedagogy at YBCA in San Francisco, Bamuthi currently serves as the Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at The Kennedy Center.
Janet Mock is a writer, director and executive producer for the FX series “Pose” and the Netflix limited series “Hollywood.” She’s written two bestselling memoirs, Redefining Realness (2014) and Surpassing Certainty (2017) about her journey as a trans woman. In 2019, Mock signed a historic multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix, making her the first trans person to secure an overall deal with a major studio. That same year, she received Harvard University’s Artist of the Year Award and was named one of Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100” and included on Vanity Fair’s New Establishment’ list. She has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times and Marie Claire, was featured in Jay-Z’s music video for “Family Feud,” and appeared in Alex Garland’s FX on Hulu limited series, “Devs.” She splits her time between Los Angeles and New York City and is currently developing a slate of television and feature projects.
Jason Moran is a jazz pianist, composer, and artist. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, he was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow and is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. Moran’s 15 critically acclaimed solo recordings and performances with masters of the form including 9 recordings from Blue Note Records and 6 from his own label, Yes Records. His 21-year relationship with his trio The Bandwagon (with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen) has resulted in a profound discography and has been dubbed the best rhythm section in contemporary jazz. Keeping a close relationship with history and activism, Moran’s extensive collaborations include scores for film director Ava DuVernay on “Selma” and “13th,” in addition to art world figures such as Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, and Lorna Simpson. Moran composed five scores for choreographer Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Company, and two for Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company. His long-standing collaborative practice with his wife, mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran, is groundbreaking. As named artists in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, they together constructed “Bleed,” a five-day series of performances stretching from readings to wellness to a ring shout. “Bleed” explored the power of performance to cross barriers and challenge assumptions, and it was widely hailed as innovative in the music and performance realm. In 2015, they participated in the Venice Biennial curated by the late Okwui Enwezor. Their concert “Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration” for Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium continues to travel around the country. Moran is currently curating a permanent exhibition for the legendary Louis Armstrong at the upcoming Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York.
Wendell Pierce stars in Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” and is known to fans for his HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme.” Last year, he wowed audiences in the West End of London in “Death of a Salesman,” garnering a nomination as Best Actor in this year’s prestigious Olivier Awards. In 2019 he won the Best Actor award for his performance in the feature “Burning Cane” at the Tribeca Film Festival, and starred opposite Alfred Woodard in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning “Clemency.”
Mj Rodriguez currently stars as housemother “Blanca” in Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking series “Pose” on FX. The series was nominated for an Emmy® in 2019 and a Golden Globe in 2018 in the category of Best Television Drama Series, a Writers Guild Award, and won both a Peabody Award and GLAAD Media Award in the category of Outstanding Drama Series. Rodriguez was most recently nominated for an MTV Movie + TV Award in the category of Breakthrough Performance. She was also nominated for two Gold Derby Awards for Drama Actress and Breakthrough Performance for her work in Pose. She won the 2019 Imagen Award for Best Actress in Television. Rodriguez made her Off-Broadway debut in New World Stages production of RENT as Angel, before continuing onto New York City Center to star in Encores! production of Runaways. She recently starred as “Audrey” in the Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. In 2018, she made her Tribeca Film debut starring in the indie film “Saturday Church,” a performance which garnered her a Tribeca Film Festival nomination for Best Actress. Her other television credits include: “Nurse Jackie” and “Marvel’s Luke Cage.”
Kendrick Sampson is best known for his role as “Nathan” on HBO’s Emmy® nominated “Insecure.” His character pulls back the veil of mental health in the Black community in a meaningful way. Kendrick most recently starred in the Sundance Film Festival favorite, “Miss Juneteenth,” which explores the story of Turquoise (Nicole Beharie), a single mom and former Miss Juneteenth pageant struggling to raise a teenage daughter, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze). Directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples, the film illustrated Black people beautifully existing on-screen, flaws, and all. BLD PWR Co-Founder Sampson continues to use his platform to empower marginalized communities and to shine a light on issues of inequity. His activism is rooted in racial justice, specifically intersectionality, and abolition. He is a proud supporter of the Standing Rock, and Black Lives Matter movements, progressive political campaigns, and social justice education. A true advocate for change and community building, Sampson is in the third year of BLD PWR. The organization most recently took their efforts to the front doors of Hollywood agencies, studios, and ancillary arteries to divest from police, calling for the end of glorification of police brutality on screen and investing in Black communities with Hollywood For Black Lives.
Yara Shahidi is an actress, producer, and breakout star of ABC’s Emmy® and Golden Globe nominated series “Black-ish,” and its spinoff “Grown-ish,” on Freeform. Currently in its third season, “Grow-ish” stars Shahidi as “Zoey Johnson,” an ambitious, fashion forward college student figuring out adulthood. Shahidi was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, a Gracie Award for Female in a Breakthrough Role, and was highlighted on TIME Magazine’s annual 30 Most Influential Teens list, as well as Forbes 30 Under 30. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shahidi made her start appearing with her mother in international commercial and print campaigns. Her first major film role was in the film “Imagine That” opposite Eddie Murphy. Other film credits include “Unthinkable,” “Salt,” “Alex Cross,” and “Butter.” Her most recent film, “The Sun is Also a Star,” was released in spring 2019. Shahidi also won the BET Young Star Award in 2017 and 2018.
Michelle Wilson can be seen in the acclaimed international indie film “Premature,” as Sarita, as Pollok in “The True Adventures of Wolfboy” alongside Jaeden Lieberher and John Turturro, and in “The Rest of Us.” In her most recent stage appearance at the New York Theatre Workshop in its acclaimed production of The House That Will Not Stand, she called on spirits as the other-worldly Marie Josephine. Michelle, however, is best known for her work in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Sweat.” Wilson originated the role of factory worker “Cynthia” at Public Theatre where the show was extended several times before moving to Broadway and receiving three Tony Award nominations, including Best Play and the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role for Michelle. Her notable television appearances include Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” as well as “The Good Fight,” “Blue Bloods,” “E.R,” and more. The many theatre credits nuancing her career include the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun, Detroit ’67, Follow Me to Nellie’s, Fahrenheit 451, Two Trains Running, The People Before the Park, and others. Michelle looks forward to the release of the Adrien Brody led film, “Clean,” and “Someone Will Assist You Shortly.”
BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME is directed by Kamilah Forbes who also serves as executive producer; executive produced by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Susan Kelechi Watson and Roger Ross Williams. Williams’ production company ONE STORY UP produces.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.