'Black America' alternate-history series in the works at Amazon


So if you're wondering about the timing of this report: yes, it was intentional.

The forthcoming Amazon series comes from writer Aaron McGruder, the Peabody Award-winning creator of The Boondocks and Black Jesus, and top producer Will Packer, whose movie successes include this summer's hit Girls Trip, the buddy cop comedy Ride Along and rap biopic Straight Outta Compton.

HBO's Confederate is taking another blow in the publicity department.

He also said the idea of a utopia for African-Americans isn't a new concept. He hopes that Black America "will speak to where we are now and the mistakes this country has made and things we should do going forward".

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Activists and cultural critics remained unconvinced.

"Ironically, "#OscarsSoWhite" activist April Reign, who spearheaded the #NoConfederate Twitter trend, is in support of the new Amazon show. In the New York Times, Roxane Gay wrote, "I don't want to watch slavery fan fiction". "The project is now in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see".

Packer tells Deadline that the show is in "very, very active development", and has been in the works for more than a year now, with McGruder already "off and writing".

While Packer wouldn't comment directly on Confederate out of respect that the series has not been fully realized, he did say say that on a personal level, "the fact that there is the contemplation of contemporary slavery makes it something that I would not be a part of producing nor consuming". He added that Amazon Studios approached him more than a year ago about the idea. He then asked McGruder to come on board, and together they "talked about what a huge opportunity and responsibility it would be".

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Packer said the series addresses the question: "What if reparations were given, what would this country and that alternate country look like today, how would Americans look, our communities, relations, I think that there definitely is a message about how we co-exist today where that didn't happen, there weren't reparations, and you still have black Americans who are suffering from the effects of slavery in various ways". "Slavery is far too real and far too painful, and we still see the manifestations of it today as a country for me to ever view that as a form of entertainment". The sovereign nation they formed, called New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with the United States, which is in rapid decline as the show begins. It's a nation that is now, for the past two decades, complicatedly allied with its neighbor, the United States, after a century and a half of "military incursions, assassinations, regime change, and coups".

Taking place in the present day after two decades of peace, New Colonia has emerged as a major industrial nation while the U.S. has been in rapid decline. Consequently, "the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance".

Neither Confederate nor Black America have premiere dates yet.

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