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Friday, July 24, 2015

Jay Z and Will Smith Executive Producing Emmett Till HBO Miniseries

According to Deadline, Jay Z and Will Smith will executive produce an upcoming HBO miniseries about Emmett Till, a teenager whose death in 1955 helped spark the civil rights movement. A writer is currently being sought for the project that is in "active development,"  Emmett Till was only 14 when the black teen was brutally murdered after allegedly flirting with a white woman in Mississippi in 1955.
The tragic story that galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement is the subject of an HBO miniseries from a A-list producing team that includes Jay-ZWill Smith and Aaron Kaplan. The untitled mini, now in active development, is described as an immersive and in depth exploration of the Emmett Till story.  Chicago native Till was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi in August 1955 when he spoke and possibly flirted with Carolyn Bryant, the 21-year-old White co-owner of a local grocery store, reportedly asking her on a date. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till’s great-uncle’s house, forcefully took him and tortured him before shooting him in the head throwing his body in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s mother Mamie insisted on an open-casket public funeral, with the image of the boy’s mutilated body shocking the country. (The original casket is now at the Smithsonian.) In September 1955, Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till’s kidnapping and murder though later admitted to killing him under the shield of the double jeopardy provision.  Mamie did a very successful tour for NAACP telling the story of her son, which is considered a tipping point for the civil rights movement.  Three months after Till’s death and two months after the trial, Rosa Parks of Montgomery AL refused to give up her seat to a white bus rider. “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back,” she later recalled.

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