Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance are bringing audiences back to 1921, the year of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Bassett and Vance’s joint production company Bassett Vance Productions are partnering with MTV Entertainment Studios to create a limited series on the Tulsa Race Massacre, with the news coming before the 100th anniversary of the tragic event. Nathan Alan Davis is writing the series. Vance and Bassett will executive produce with Bassett Vance execs Dwayne Johnson-Cochran and Lynnette Ramirez. MTV Entertainment Studios’ Meghan Hooper White, executive vice president and head of original movies and limited series, and Amal Baggar, vice president of original movies and limited series, will also produce.
The Tulsa community of Greenwood was known as “Black Wall Street” for its number of Black businesspeople thriving within its neighborhood. White Tulsa citizens bombed and ransacked Greenwood in retaliation against Black people’s upward mobility. The destruction of Tulsa and other lucrative Black communities has damaged Black America for decades afterward, yet the story was mostly hidden from mainstream history until recently.
“Angela and I have always had a deep appreciation for history, especially when it comes to stories that are rooted in the Black community,” said Vance in a statement. “We look forward to working on this series with MTV Entertainment Studios that will explore an important slice of American history as we look to reflect on events that changed the lives of countless Black families in Tulsa, Oklahoma one hundred years ago.”
Vance also said that he and Bassett are “excited” to work with Davis because Davis’ vision “directly aligns” with the story the two want to create.
“Although the series will revisit the Black pain and tragedy that took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, it will also importantly introduce to many the stories of the extraordinary, entrepreneurial people who built Black Wall Street and all that this community accomplished.”
Davis also said in a statement he is excited to work with Bassett, Vance and MTV Entertainment Studios on the project, saying, “Exploring the history of Tulsa’s Greenwood District as a limited dramatic series affords us a precious opportunity and a deep responsibility. I greatly look forward to creating a story that will not only shed light on the people of Black Wall Street, but give fresh life to the spirit, ideas, hopes, fears, and dreams that motivated them.”
“As storytellers–together with Courtney, Angela and Nathan–we have the privilege of shining a light on a devasting event in our history that is important, necessary and still resonates 100 years later,” said MTV Entertainment Group’s president of content and chief creative officer Nina L. Diaz in a statement. “This partnership underscores our shared commitment to raise diverse voices and create content our global audience is yearning for that is both timely and telling.”