The friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X through the 1960s will be generating a considerable amount of content for viewers in upcoming months.
As reported by Deadline’s Peter White, a documentary chronicling Malcolm and Ali’s relationship is coming very soon to Netflix. Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali will debut Sept. 9 on the streaming network and is produced by Kenya Barris, the creator of Black-ish, through his Khalabo Ink Society production company.
The documentary is based on the 2016 book of the same name, Blood Brothers by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, which covers the period when then-Cassius Clay met Malcolm X in the early 1960s and became the boxer’s mentor. The minister and activist saw Clay as a symbol of Black pride and independence, in addition to a potential vehicle for the Nation of Islam’s message.
After defeating Sonny Liston in 1964 to win the heavyweight championship, Clay announced that he was changing his name to Cassius X. Shortly thereafter, he took the name Muhammad Ali. But the relationship eventually deteriorated when Malcolm became dismayed with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and broke away from the movement to try and work with other civil rights leaders. Malcolm tried to persuade Ali to join him and convert to a different denomination of Islam, but was unsuccessful.
Last November, A+E Studios announced the production of an eight-episode dramatic series based on Blood Brothers. That project is being developed by NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony through his Creative 7 company and production partner Asani Swann. A broadcast or streaming home for that series hasn’t yet been announced, but both History and VICE TV look like strong possibilities under the A&E Networks umbrella. The studio has produced content for other networks like Lifetime and ABC, as well.
Earlier this year, the film One Night in Miami touched upon the relationship between Clay and Malcolm X, focusing on a pivotal get-together after the Liston fight where singer Sam Cooke and NFL star Jim Brown joined them in a hotel room. The movie is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Blood Brothers is directed by Marcus A. Clarke (Unsolved Mysteries) and debuts on Netflix Sept. 9.