EXCLUSIVE: After an extensive nationwide talent search, young actor Cedric Joe has has landed the role of Emmett Till in ABC’s limited series Women of the Movement, from creator-writer Marissa Jo Cerar and a producing team that includes Jay-Z, Will Smith and Aaron Kaplan.
The six-episode limited series, set to premiere in 2021, centers on Mamie Till-Mobley (Adrienne Warren), who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son Emmett Till (Joe), following his brutal killing in the Jim Crow south.
Till is a charming and spirited 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered while vacationing with family in Mississippi, circa 1955. Unwilling to let his death disappear from the headlines, his mother Mamie chose to publicize the brutality of his murder, and as a result she ignited the Civil Rights Movement as we know it today.
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Niecy Nash co-stars as Alma, Emmett Till’s grandmother.
Women of the Movement is inspired by the book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S. Anderson. Cerar serves as showrunner and executive produces with Jay-Z, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith via Roc Nation; Will Smith and James Lassiter for Overbrook; as well as Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor and Michael Lohmann of Kapital Entertainment. Also executive producing are Gina Prince-Bythewood, who will direct the first episode, Rosanna Grace for Serendipity Film Group; Alex Foster and John Powers Middleton of Middleton Media Group; and David Clark via Mazo Partners. Kapital Entertainment is the studio.
Joe’s previous TV credits include guest-starring roles on Good Trouble, Modern Family and Game Shakers. On the film side, he’s next set to appear in Space Jam: A New Legacy directed by Malcolm D. Lee.
Emmett Till’s story was recently evoked in Episode 3 of HBO’s Lovecraft Country where he was played by Rhyan Hill in a cameo.