Entertainment moguls Jay Z and Will Smith are working on something big, and it’s gonna be pretty epic. The two hip hop legends are coming together as producers for a new HBO mini-series that tells the story of Emmett Till, a Mississippi teenager who was brutally murdered in 1955 after being accused of flirting with a white woman.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Emmett was in town (Money, Mississippi) visiting relatives from Chicago. He was 14 at the time. “If you have to get on your knees and bow when a white person goes past,” Mamie Till told her son as she sent him on his way, “Do it willingly.” It wasn’t long after Emmett arrived that he was accused of whistling at a white woman, and was later murdered for his “offense.”
Roy Bryant and his half brother, J.W. Milam are the culprits. They beat him, gouged out one eye and shot him through the head before weighing his body down and throwing it in the Tallahatchie River.
Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong. I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all. -Mamie Till
Till’s funeral was an open casket funeral. Mami Till Bradley, Emmett’s mother, wanted it that way. She wanted the world to see what racism and hatred had done to her little boy.
The Emmett Till story is considered a tipping point for the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a story that stands out in our minds, especially considering the condition of Till’s body and face when he was buried.
The untitled mini, now in active development, is described as an immersive and in depth exploration of the Emmett Till story. Search is underway for a writer to pen the project, likely a six-hour miniseries, executive produced by Jay-Z and his partner Jay Brown of Roc Nation, Smith and James Lassiter of Overbrook Entertainment and Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment.
This isn’t the first time Smith and Mr. Carter have come together. The duo previously worked together on last year’s Annie remake starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis. Kudos to Jay and Will! I can’t wait to see the finished product!