Author Kwame Alexander Takes ‘The Crossover’ to Disney | EUR Exclusive

Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander attends the premiere for Disney +’s Original Series “The Crossover” at Hollywood Athletic Club on April 04, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

*We caught up with author Kwame Alexander to unpack Disney’s new series “The Crossover,” based on his critically acclaimed best-selling novel.

Per the synopsis: “The Crossover” introduces teen brothers Josh and Jordan Bell, widely considered basketball phenoms. Through his lyrical poetry, an adult version of Josh, aka Filthy, narrates the story of he and his brother’s coming of age, on and off the court, as their former professional basketball player father adjusts to life after basketball, and their mother finally pursues lifelong dreams of her own.

In my exclusive conversation with Alexander, I asked what areas of his book were most important to highlight for this series. “The poetry,” he said. 

“It was a novel written in verse,” Alexander continued. “And it’s so much rhythm, it’s so much white space on the page. A lot of people don’t know, the white space on the page is for the journey that the reader can take. They can fill in some of the blanks. And so it’s so much that goes into creating a poem. And how do you translate that onto the screen? And so I had no idea how that was going to work.”

READ MORE: Derek Luke and Sabrina Revelle Talk New Disney+ Series ‘The Crossover’ | EUR Exclusive

The Crossover cast on Disney+
(L-R) Kwame Alexander, Sabrina Revelle, Jayln Hall, Derek Luke, Kimberly A. Harrison, Amari O’Neil and Damani Johnson of Disney+’s ‘The Crossover’ pose for a portrait during the 2023 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 13, 2023 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by JSquared Photography/Getty Images)


Alexander serves as an executive producer on the show along with Kimberly A. Harrison and showrunner Damani Johnson. The series stars Derek Luke (“Chuck Bell”) Jalyn Hall (“Josh ‘Filthy’ Bell”) Amir O’Neil (Jordan ‘JB’ Bell”) Sabrina Revelle (“Crystal Bell”) Deja Monique Cruz (“Maya”) Trevor Bush (“Vondie”) and Skyla I’Lece (“Alexis”).

Harrison said the series has something for everyone.

“As a parent, it’s taking you back to your childhood. And you’re sitting there with your kids and actually seeing like, “Hey, mommy experienced the same type of stuff that you’re going through now.” So I just feel like The Crossover really opens it up for a bigger conversation in your house,” Harrison said in our exclusive conversation. 

“Thankfully, Damani was a fan of the book. His daughter had read the book. So he had an entry point before he became the showrunner and an EP on the show. And he understood that we had to keep the spirit of the poetry, the musicality of it, the rhythm on the screen. How he did it, I have no idea,” Alexander shared.

Alexander said the journey of these two brothers in “The Crossover” serves as “a reminder to all of us that Black people are human beings.”

“We’re happy, we’re sad, just like everybody else. We’re just going about the business of trying to live this one wild, precious life. And in the midst of it, things are going to change, they’re going to shift. Life is going to crossover on us, and we’re going to have to figure out how to stick together. And the only way to do that is by having a team, a village that loves you, that you love. And so I want people to remember that, and that’s ultimately the goal,” he continued.

“The Crossover” is now streaming on Disney+.

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