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MTV Entertainment Studios & Bassett Vance Productions to produce Tulsa Massacre Series

MTV Entertainment Studios and Bassett Vance Productions today 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.” 

“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.”

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 JerusalemDontrell 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 is slated to premiere at Arena Stage in Washington D.C.

Meghan Hooper White, EVP and Head of Original Movies and Limited Series and VP, Original Movies and Limited Series, Amal Baggar will oversee the project for MTV Entertainment Studios. Bassett and Vance will executive produce the series, along with Dwayne Johnson-Cochran and Lynnette Ramirez for Bassett Vance Productions.

Davis is repped by ICM and managed by Literate. Bassett Vance Productions is repped by Darrell Miller, Fox Rothschild LLP.  Bahareh Kamali brokered the deal for MTV Entertainment Studios.

Ray Cornelius is one of Atlanta’s newest entertainment writers and media personalities. His arts and entertainment website, www.raycornelius.com spotlights the latest in “positive” African-American celebrity news and was established in 2012. Since that time Cornelius has covered a myriad of red carpet premieres, award shows and Atlanta-based films including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, The BronzeLens Film Festival, The Trumpet Awards, and The Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards just to name a few. He has also interviewed a who’s who list of today’s top singers, actors and reality stars. With nearly 20 years of media experience, Cornelius has also worked as an associate producer for the Emmy-winning public affairs program, ATL Insider and with such award shows as The Soul Train Awards, The Trumpet Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards.