Jay Z hasn't released new music in a couple of years, but the man knows how to stay busy elsewhere — as a small sampling, he owns Roc Nation, a sports management agency, and TIDAL, a music streaming service that competes with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Now he's getting deeper into the Hollywood game by teaming up with Will Smith and Aaron Kaplan to executive produce an yet-to-be-named HBO miniseries about the tragic story of Emmett Till.
Till was just 14 when he was brutally tortured and murdered after allegedly flirting with a white woman in Mississippi in 1955. His killers were eventually acquitted and his death became a sad landmark moment in the civil rights movement.
Read on to learn more about Till's story. Warning: disturbing images and descriptions ahead.
Till was a Chicago native visiting relatives in Money, Miss., in August 1955.
On this trip, he spoke to and may have flirted with 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, a white woman and co-owner of a local grocery store. Many nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam forcefully took Till from his great-uncle's house, then tortured him, shot him and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River.
Till's mother Mamie insisted on an open-casket public funeral.
Mamie wanted everyone to see firsthand the brutality that had been inflicted upon her son and the image of Till's mutilated body shocked the country. In September 1955, Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till's kidnapping and murder, but they later admitted to killing him under the protection of the double jeopardy provision.
Just a few months later, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.
She reportedly recalled later on, "I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn't go back."
The HBO miniseries is described as "an immersive and in-depth exploration of the Emmett Till story."
A search is currently underway for a writer and the project will likely be a six-hour miniseries. No word yet on when it will be released, but it's sure to be an impactful telling of Till's story whenever it hits.
Cover image: Matthew Harrison via Flickr