Skip to main content

Jay-Z and Will Smith to produce new HBO miniseries based on tragic death of young boy

best music videos
Adam Glanzman/Flickr
Rapper and music mogul Jay-Z and actor and former musician Will Smith are teaming up with Aaron Kaplan to produce a miniseries about Emmett Till, a young, African American man who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955, reports Variety.

Till’s story is a rather tragic one: the boy, just 14 at the time of his death, was supposedly killed simply because he had flirted, and possibly made sexual advances toward an older, white woman who ran a local grocery store. The woman’s husband and his half-brother brutally attacked the boy, gouging out one of his eyes, shooting him in the head, and throwing his body in the river. Wanting to bring attention to the sheer brutality of the attack, Till’s mother held an open casket funeral in his hometown of Chicago. His funeral attracted thousands, and spurred a discussion on race relations, lynching, and racism, and was integral to motivations behind the Civil Rights Movement.

Related: Hulk Hogan out of WWE after racist comments surface via Gawker lawsuit

To make matters worse, both offenders were acquitted of the crime, later admitting that they, in fact, did it, since they were protected by double jeopardy laws which prevent someone from being tried for the same crime twice. Part of the problem was that his body was so badly mutilated that they could not properly identify Till. His body was exhumed just over a decade ago and properly identified.

It will be interesting to see how the project’s writer, who has yet to be named, will go about drawing out this story based around one (very) climactic event over the span of six hours. But both Jay-Z and Smith reportedly jumped at the opportunity to participate when approached by Kaplan.

Jay Brown and James Lassiter will also be executive producers. The series, which has yet to be named, will come from Kapital Entertainment, Overbrook Entertainment, and Roc Nation.

This isn’t the first time that Jay-Z and Smith have collaborated on a project: they both served as producers for the 2014 remake version of Annie, which starred Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, and Cameron Diaz. The movie was largely panned by critics.

This miniseries, however, takes on a rather serious topic, and has potential Emmy nomination written all over it.

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
3 sci-fi movies on Peacock you need to watch in April 2024
Cole Sprouse and Kathryn Newton in Lisa Frankenstein.

The selection of sci-fi movies on Peacock is absolutely awful in April. All of the fantastic sci-fi films from March left at the end of last month, and the replacement titles are not exactly riveting science fiction. What that leaves us with is a sci-fi library that consists largely of schlock films like Android Cop, Jurassic City, and Lord of the Elves. And if you doubt that those are real titles, you can see them for yourself on Peacock.

In the absence of any great sci-fi epics, our picks for thes three sci-fi movies on Peacock that you have to watch in April are all comedies. That includes the recently released film Lisa Frankenstein, which veers closer to horror than science fiction. But when a bolt of lightning can bring a dead body back to life, that's close enough to sci-fi for us!
Click (2006)

Read more
The best Black movies on Netflix right now
A woman stands in front of microphones with a man clapping behind her in Shirley.

Finding the best Black movies on Netflix right now is easier thanks to its Black Stories collection. But it's still a fairly extensive library, and it can feel difficult to narrow down your options to find a movie that suits your current mood. Don't worry, though, because we've already done the searching, updating this list monthly with the best of Black filmmaking on Netflix.

This month, a Netflix Original about pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm joins the list, as well as another great Civil Rights drama.

Read more
The best comedies on Netflix right now
Carl Weathers as Chubbs with his arm around Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore, the two men looking at one another in a scene from Happy Gilmore.

Comedies are never out of favor at Netflix, even though some of our favorite comedy movies like Step Brothers, Dumb and Dumber, Fletch, Twins, and The Burbs are all leaving at the end of April. There aren't any modern comedies to replace them this month, but Netflix has added three films from the 1990s: Happy Gilmore, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Blue Streak. On top of those three, we're also taking a look back at the '80s comedy Repo Man.

It's too soon to say which films Netflix will add in May, but the rest of the best comedies on Netflix right now include a mix of classic and modern films, as well as a handful of Netflix originals that are just as funny as anything you would have seen in a theater.

Read more