Even before HBO thought it was a great idea to have two white men explain how 400 years of slavery was horrible by imagining a modern-day version of it, Amazon.com had its own alternative-history series in the works.
Deadline reports that Aaron McGruder, the creator of the Peabody Award-winning animated series The Boondocks, has been working with Will Packer (producer of Straight Outta Compton and the remake of Roots) for over a year on Black America, a groundbreaking series based on the idea that freed slaves received reparations after the end of the Civil War and formed their own country.
The show will take place in the fictional country of New Colonia—a sovereign nation created from land that was formerly Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. If HBO’s Confederate—an imagined version of the modern-day U.S. where the South won the Civil War and continues to practice the terrorist tradition of slavery—is the ice cream dreams of white America, then New Colonia is the fantasy of black America.
The show is constructed around the fantastic, impossible, totally made-up notion that African Americans secured post-Reconstruction reparations and created their own nation—similar to the real-life treaties that created Israel, Austria, Palestine, Hungary, Yugoslavia, etc. Since its formation, New Colonia has thrived, while the old, racist United States has steadily declined.
Packer said the series addresses the questions, “What if reparations were given? What would this country and that alternate country look like today? How would Americans look, our communities, relations?” He added, “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. You still have the prison-industrial complex that disproportionally imprisons black and brown people; you can trace that back for many reasons to slavery.”
While Confederate’s producers have hired two black writers (Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, on whom Packer declined to comment), Packer and McGruder have enlisted the “appropriate historians to make sure we are telling the story in an accurate and responsible way,” Packer said.
Packer wouldn’t comment directly on Confederate out of consideration that the series has not been fully realized, but 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. ... 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.”
Amazon.com has not yet projected a release date for Black America, but trust me: Black America will be waiting.
In a related story, the White America Emergency Foundation began distributing handkerchiefs and pain medication for the output of white tears and the surge of butt-hurt wypipo who will surely start a Twitter campaign about canceling their Amazon subscriptions because they are outraged about McGruder and Packer’s racist show.