Pulitzer Prize®-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times have chosen Lionsgate Studios to be the home for a wide-ranging partnership to develop Ms. Hannah-Jones’ landmark issue of The New York Times Magazine, The 1619 Project, and hit New York Times podcast, 1619, into an expansive portfolio of feature films, television series and other content for a global audience.
As part of the ground-breaking venture, Lionsgate has partnered with Oprah Winfrey as a producer who will provide stewardship and guidance to the development and production of The 1619 Project.
Lionsgate, The Times and Ms. Winfrey will join forces with Ms. Hannah-Jones, who will serve as the creative leader and producer in developing feature films, television series, documentaries, unscripted programming and other forms of entertainment enlisting world-class Black creative voices to help adapt her celebrated series chronicling the ways that the original sin of slavery in America still permeates all aspects of our society today.
Jones’ colleague at The Times Magazine, Caitlin Roper, an editor of The 1619 Project and head of scripted entertainment at The Times, will also produce.
One of the most impactful and thought-provoking works of journalism of the past decade, The Times Magazine’s 1619 Project was a landmark undertaking that connected the centrality of slavery in history with an unflinching account of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today.
It was launched in August 2019 on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that would become the United States, and it examines the legacy of slavery in America and how it shaped all aspects of society, from music and law to education and the arts, including the principles of our democracy itself.
Ms. Hannah-Jones created and was the architect of the initiative at The Times Magazine with contributions from Black authors, essayists, poets, playwrights, and scholars comprising 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 that topped the Apple Podcast charts.
One of The Times’ most widely read pieces of journalism last year, The 1619 Project has been discussed in the Senate, is being adapted into a series of books with One World, a division of Penguin Random House, and is already changing the way that American history is being taught in schools.
“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. 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,” said Ms. Hannah-Jones. “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.”
“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 Oprah Winfrey. “I am honored to be a part of Nikole’s vision to bring this project to a global audience.”