An award-winning expose from journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones (Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed A Landmark Civil Rights Law) will receive a TV adaptation. According to Deadline, Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project will be turned into a docuseries at Hulu. The collaborative effort from Hannah-Jones and The New York Times chronicled how today’s effects of systemic racism can be traced back to the initiation of African enslavement in America.
“The 1619 Project is a revelatory master class in the power of history,” Tara Duncan, leader of Disney’s General Entertainment Content’s BIPOC Creator Initiative said via Deadline. “Nikole Hannah-Jones’ extraordinary work speaks to contemporary America and reveals how our past is ever-present, but more importantly, why engaging in a much-needed dialogue about our origins has the power to create healing and a meaningful positive impact on our collective future. It’s an honor to join forces with Nikole, the enormously gifted Roger Ross Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and our partners at Lionsgate and The New York Times to bring this new chapter of ‘The 1619 Project’ to life,” Duncan said via Deadline.
The original article was published in August 2019, according to Deadline. Its launch date coincided with the 400th anniversary of when the first slaves were brought from Africa to the original English colonies. The project highlights how America’s original sin has laced every facet of life – from education to entertainment, politics, and the economy – with the stain of racism.
“We worked hard to get everything right with our first offering,” executive producer Oprah Winfrey (Super Soul Sunday, The Color Purple) said via Deadline. Adding the reach of Disney and its powerful brand to our collaboration, launching on a great premium platform like Hulu, and bringing together the creative resources of our friends at Lionsgate and The New York Times to support Nikole Hannah-Jones’ narrative and Roger Ross Williams’ vision is the perfect start to our partnership,” Winfrey stated via Deadline.
According to Deadline, the Times and Lionsgate will produce along with Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Hannah-Jones’ One Story Up production company. Hannah-Jones is joined by producing partner Geoff Martz (20/20, ABC News Nightline). Roger Ross Williams (God Loves Uganda, The Apollo) will oversee the series as executive producer and direct the first episdoe.
“The 1619 Project is an essential reframing of American history,” said Williams via Deadline. “Our most cherished ideals and achievements cannot be understood without acknowledging both systemic racism and the contributions of Black Americans. And this isn’t just about the past — Black people are still fighting against both the legacy of this racism and its current incarnation. I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to work with The New York Times, Lionsgate Television, Harpo Films, and Hulu to translate the incredibly important The 1619 Project into a documentary series,” Williams said via Deadline.
According to Deadline, Shoshana Guy (Rock Center with Brian Williams, 4Real) will serve as showrunner and the Times will add Caitlin Roper (Speedo, Jungle Prince of Delhi) and Kathleen Lingo (Op-Docs, Long Live Benjamin) as executive producers.