T.I., Killer Mike, others voice Ta-Nehisi Coates’ truths to hip-hop generation

“Between the World and Me” cast members at Atlanta Symphony Hall on Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo credit: N. Ali Early for Steed Media)

The city of Atlanta showed up in droves for a special stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me.

The one-day, two-show affair — produced, developed and directed by Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes — took place in front of a packed house on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, at Atlanta Symphony Hall inside the Woodruff Arts Center.

Inspired by the powerful, emotional and necessary work of art, which Coates wrote in 2015 to his then-15-year-old son, Samori, the star-studded show featured a cast of celebrities and cultural influencers that included Clifford “T.I.” Harris; Michael “Killer Mike” Render; Lynn Whitfield; actor Omar Dorsey (“Queen Sugar”); Ledisi; Tony-nominated actress Michelle Wilson (Sweat); actress Pauletta Washington (Philadelphia, Antwone Fisher); artist, poet and TED Global Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph; and actor Greg Alverez Reid (Between the World and Me).

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms appeared toward the end of the afternoon show, eventually reading a passage from the book once the thunderous ovation from the stunned audience faded back to silence.

During the performance, each of the cast members read content that was pulled directly from the book, while bassist Mimi Jones and drummer Nate Smith played soft tunes composed by MacArthur “Genius” Jason Moran.

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N. Ali Early
N. Ali Early

Copy Editor

I like to describe myself as a pen pro. I believe everything begins with the pen. To no fault of its own, this generation has turned in its pen for a keyboard, but the concept remains the same: Write from the heart… Write from the start.

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