Lionsgate is partnering with Oprah Winfrey, and New York Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Nikole Hannah-Jones to develop her comprehensive project for The Times Magazine, The 1619 Project, and her Times podcast 1619, into an “expansive portfolio” of feature films, documentaries, television series, unscripted programming and other forms of content.
Winfrey, as a producer, will provide “stewardship and guidance to the development and production of The 1619 Project,” according to Lionsgate.
Hannah-Jones, staff writer for the New York Times and architect of The 1619 Project, will serve as creative leader and producer for the initiative, which will enlist top Black creative voices to take part. Caitlin Roper, an NYT Magazine colleague, editor of The 1619 Project and head of scripted entertainment at The Times, will also produce.
The 1619 Project launched in August of 2019 and marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that became the United States. The project investigates how slavery has widely impacted all aspects of society, and the connection between it and the brutal incidences of racism seen in the present day. It brought together Black essayists, poets, playwrights, authors and scholars through a special issue of the magazine and a special section in the print edition of The New York Times, produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History & Culture, as well as a five-part podcast.
“We took very seriously our duty to find TV and film partners that would respect and honor the work and mission of The 1619 Project, that understood our vision and deep moral obligation to doing justice to these stories,” said Hannah-Jones in a statement. “Through every step of the process, Lionsgate and its leadership have shown themselves to be that partner and it is a dream to be able to produce this work with Ms. Oprah Winfrey, a trailblazer and beacon to so many Black journalists.
“I am excited for this opportunity to extend the breadth and reach of The 1619 Project and to introduce these stories of Black resistance and resilience to even more American households,” she added.
“From the first moment I read The 1619 Project and immersed myself in Nikole Hannah-Jones’s transformative work, I was moved, deepened and strengthened by her empowering historical analysis,” said Winfrey. “I am honored to be a part of Nikole’s vision to bring this project to a global audience.”
“For many Americans, The 1619 Project was a great awakening and a true history that you probably never learned in school,” added Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “For others, the project was a fresh analysis of the historical record by one of the world’s leading media authorities. We’re proud to partner with The New York Times, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Oprah Winfrey, a creative talent with unparalleled stature, to amplify Nikole’s voice and reach across our worldwide platform to marshal all of our top creative relationships to translate her vision into a canon of storytelling for a global audience.”