The friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X will be the focus of an upcoming limited series executive-produced by NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony.
The eight-episode series will be based on the book Blood Brothers by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, which chronicled the period when Cassius Clay met Malcolm X in the early 1960s. The minister and activist became a mentor to Clay, who saw the boxing star as a symbol for Black pride and independence, and a potential vehicle for the Nation of Islam’s message.
That friendship led to Clay changing his name to Muhammad Ali. But their relationship eventually deteriorated when Malcolm became critical of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and broke away from the movement for a variety of reasons, including an ambition to work with other civil rights leaders. He tried to persuade Ali to join him and convert to a different denomination of Islam but was rejected.
Malcolm’s influence on Clay is also one aspect of the upcoming film One Night in Miami, which will premiere on Amazon Prime Jan. 21.
Blood Brothers, currently the working title for the project, will be an eight-episode series produced by A+E Studios. But that doesn’t mean the series will be on A&E Network.
The studio has produced content for outlets under the A&E Networks umbrella, including History, VICE TV, and Lifetime. But World War II miniseries The Liberator was produced for Netflix. The thriller series You was initially on Lifetime but moved to Netflix as well. A + E is also involved in the production of Big Sky, which recently premiered on ABC. (History appears to be the likely home for Blood Brothers, doesn’t it?)
Carmelo Anthony’s company Creative 7 and production partner Asani Swann will help develop the series.
“It’s an honor to be working with A+E Studios to tell the story of the complex bond between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X,” Anthony and Swann said for the series’ announcement, “two civil rights leaders who had a lasting impact both in and beyond Black America. We believe this story has the power to resonate with audiences on a global scale and are excited to bring this unique and inspiring tale to life.”