HBO Launches the HeLa Multimedia Exhibit in Tribute to Henrietta Lacks, the ‘Mother of Modern Medicine’

HBO’s The HeLa Project for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on April 6, 2017, in New York City. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for HBO)

Just in time for the highly anticipated debut of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, HBO has announced the launch of The HeLa Project, a multimedia exhibition inspired by the film.

The Immortal Life, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne and directed by George C. Wolfe, is based on Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times best-seller, which tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line, aka more #BlackGirlMagic for the ages.


Shadow & Act reports that The HeLa Project features an original portrait of Lacks by Kadir Nelson, an original poem by Saul Williams and a moving rendition of “Motherless Children Have a Hard Time” by recording artist Jazmine Sullivan. There will also be art by Zoe Buckman, Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich, Doreen Garner and Tomashi Jackson, curated by Lewis Long of Long Gallery Harlem.

In addition, there will be an educational installation about HeLa cells, which have led to many medical breakthroughs, which is why Lacks is called the mother of modern medicine.


The multimedia exhibition will be in New York City on April 7-9 in SoHo (465 W. Broadway, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 12-5 p.m.).

It will be in Atlanta on April 13-16 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights & Culture.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks debuts on HBO on Saturday, April 22.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.