A best-selling book and highly praised stage show is now an HBO movie that shines a spotlight on being Black in America, and a local actor played a major role in bringing the story to life.
Oprah Winfrey and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali are part of a star-studded ensemble in the movie treatment of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ must-read book “Between the World and Me.”
Stage actor Greg Reid also appears in the movie.
“I still don't know if I have the words; I'm a little overwhelmed,” he said.
He attended High Point High School in Beltsville, Maryland, where he was a member of the drama club.
“If High Point started to lay the foundation, Howard is where I really grew up,” Reid said.
At Howard University, Reid became lifelong friends with Coates and the late Chadwick Boseman, who he called brother.
“We didn't realize what we were doing but we were building a community back then,” Reid said. “Chad was a director; he wasn't an actor. I don't think a lot of people knew that.”
In the movie, Reid tells the story of Prince Jones, a Howard student shot and killed by an undercover Prince George's County police officer in 2000. The controversial shooting and trial of the officer made headlines. The officer was not convicted.
The violent reputation of the police department at that time and Jones’ death played a pivotal role in Coates’ book and the movie.
“When he passed in 2000, it affected all of us,” Reid said. “It was our brother; it was so close to home; it was just devastating.”
Devastation, anger and at times joy wash over you through Coates’ words and incredible performances from actors like Reid.
“Between the World and Me” is available on demand on HBO and can be streamed for free on HBO Max Wednesday through Monday.