MTV Entertainment Studios and Bassett Vance Productions announced that Award-winning playwright Nathan Alan Davis will write a scripted original limited-series inspired by the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, considered the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.
A century after the devastating event that left hundreds of Black people dead and entire homes and businesses destroyed, the series will be the first dramatic adaptation devoted to telling the story of Greenwood district in Tulsa, which at that time was the wealthiest Black community in the United States and known as “Black Wall Street.”
“As storytellers – together with Courtney, Angela and Nathan – we have the privilege of shining a light on a devastating event in our history that is important, necessary and still resonates 100 years later,” said Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer at MTV Entertainment Group. “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.”
Bringing to life a story hidden for decades
“Angela and I have always had a deep appreciation for history, especially when it comes to stories that are rooted in the Black community. 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,” said Courtney B. Vance, principal at Bassett Vance Productions.
“We are excited to work with Nathan because his vision directly aligns with the story that Angela and I want to tell. 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 added, “I am honored to be partnering with Courtney, Angela, MTV Entertainment Studios and their extraordinary teams in this vital endeavor. 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 crafting 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.”
A first for actor Angela Bassett
This is the first project from Bassett Vance Productions as part of the deal made with MTV Entertainment Studios in 2020. Having served as a writer for projects such as BET’s American Soul and Facebook Watch’s Sorry For Your Loss, this marks Davis’s first run as a show creator after receiving multiple awards for his produced plays, including Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea and The Wind and the Breeze.
He previously provided a take on the Tulsa Massacre for his play, The High Ground, which will premiere at Arena Stage in Washington D.C.