The Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist developed "The 1619 Project" for an issue of The New York Times Magazine in August 2019 on the anniversary of the day African slaves first arrived on American soil. The ongoing interactive initiative aims to trace the origins and influence of slavery in America and was also developed into a podcast. The project's website describes it as:
"an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative."
Winfrey partnered with Lionsgate and Hannah-Jones to adapt the series into film, tv series, documentaries and more based on the journalistic project. Hannah-Jones will act as a creative leader and producer with Winfrey on as a producer as well. The project is also being developed into a series of books.
About developing the project, Hannah-Jones said in a statement to The Root:
"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."
Winfrey also spoke about her desire to join the project by saying:
"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."
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer also spoke about the collaboration saying:
"For many Americans, The 1619 Project was a great awakening and a true history that you probably never learned in school...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."
Hannah-Jones took to Twitter to share the exciting news. In her thread she also re-emphasized her commitment to adapting this project correctly and with the right people.
Oprah also addressed the exciting news, sharing her own experience of encountering the project for the first time.
We look forward to the profound body of work that will be adapted from a piece of journalistic excellence.
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