Black America is the new drama from The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder and producer Will Packer for Amazon, a scripted series that explores an alternate historical world we still haven’t seen on TV.
The project was announced in February, though it’s been in development for over a year. Details were shared Tuesday with Deadline, partially in response to the controversy about Confederate, the new HBO series from Game of Throne showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, which imagines an alternate-history U.S. in which “slavery never ended.”
Black America’s alternate history is Confederate’s exact opposite. In its post-Civil War landscape, newly freed slaves are given reparations in the form of land, transforming Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama into a sovereign nation called New Colonia:
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.
While Packer declined to comment directly on Confederate, saying he didn’t want to pre-judge a show that hasn’t even been written, the decision to share more about Black America was definitely prompted by the current discussion around who gets to tell what kind of stories on television:
“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.”
Packer did say that on a personal level, he can’t imagine tuning into a show about slavery as a modern institution in a fictionalized universe.
“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.”