Amazon Eyes Alt-History ‘Black America’ From ‘Boondocks,’ ‘Compton’ Producers
Pushback on HBO’s modern slavery drama Confederate understandably rages, and Amazon’s response is most intriguing of all. Straight Outta Compton producer Will Packer and The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder’s new alternate-reality drama has been unveiled as Black America, with a very different premise.
Deadline reports that Amazon and the creative pair opted to unveil their new drama earlier than expected, so as to distinguish it from HBO’s controversial Confederate announcement. And where Confederate imagines an America after several civil wars and legalized slavery in the south, Black America goes in a different post-war direction:
It 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.
The series will consult with numerous historians to shape its vision, while Packer said of the premise:
It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American. You would be hard pressed to find many black Americas 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.
McGruder too is no stranger to alternate-reality, having won a Peabody Award for the Boondocks episode envisioning a world in which Martin Luther King Jr. awakened from a coma to life during the Bush administration. More recently, McGruder co-created Adult Swim’s Black Jesus, which imagines an African-American Jesus Christ living in modern Compton, California.
Packer wouldn’t offer much direct comment on Confederate in deference to its creators and the early stages, similar to HBO’s recent responses to “#NoConfederate” hashtags that swelled with Game of Thrones on Sunday. Instead, he offered “the fact that there is the contemplation of contemporary slavery makes it something that I would not be a part of producing nor consuming.”
It’s likely that Black America makes it to market first, on account of Confederate taking a backseat to Game of Thrones’ final season, so might HBO further rethink its new series?