There’s been widespread backlash following the announcement of HBO’s new show ‘Confederate’ — a show that reimagines America as if the South successfully seceded from the union during the Civil War and slavery persists “as a modern-day institution”.
In the wake of the controversy, Amazon has announced a series of its own from producer Will Packer (Girls Trip, Think Like a Man) and Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) called ‘Black America’ — and it’s about what could’ve happened if freed slaves received the Southern states as reparations for slavery and formed their own union.
According to the show’s description:
“[Black America] envisions an alternate history where newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparations for slavery, and with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The sovereign nation they formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc. Today, after two decades of peace with the U.S. and unprecedented growth, an ascendant New Colonia joins the ranks of major industrialized nations on the world stage as America slides into rapid decline. Inexorably tied together, the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance.”
Will Packer spoke to Deadline and said that with the controversy surrounding Confederate, he felt it was “the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted and we are pretty far down the road with it.”
“I was immediately enthralled by the idea; I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what a provocative and bold piece of content it could be. Being a fan of Aaron, I thought he definitely had the right tone, the right voice, the right wit to handle a project like this. Aaron and I sat together and talked about what a huge opportunity and responsibility it would be to do this project and do it right,” he continued.
Doing the project right meant bringing in historians to ensure it’s as accurate as possible.
“It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American,” Packer said. “You would be hard pressed to find many black Americans who have not thought about the concept of reparation, what would happen if reparations were actually given. As a content creator, the fact that that is something that has been discussed thoroughly throughout various demographics of people in this country but yet never been explored to my knowledge in any real way in long-form content, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to delve into the story, to do it right.”
That involves “bringing on the appropriate historians to make sure we are telling the story in an accurate and responsible way,” Packer said, noting that historians have been brought in as consultants on the project, working with the producers.
Why is working with scholars on a fictional series set in present time so important? “Even though the story is set in contemporary society, not post-slavery, it relies on us being factually correct in telling the story of how we got to a contemporary society where you’ve got a sovereign country that is run by black Americans,” Packer said.
You can read the full story via Deadline. We can’t wait to hear more about the project later this year.