America’s first-ever president is getting a series…helmed by a Black man.
According to Deadline, Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is set to direct and serve as executive producer for a pilot about the contradictions surrounding George Washington’s first term in office. The series, titled The President, was created by Brian Burns (Blue Bloods) and William N. Collage (Assassin’s Creed).
Initially rolling my eyes at yet another possible patriotic puff-piece biopic about a “Founding Father,” I realized this project isn’t quite...that.
Here’s the series synopsis scoop, via Deadline:
The President has a pilot script and an eight-episode bible for a series that tells the complex story of America’s first elected leader and the contradictions behind the man who, after leading the country to victory in the Revolutionary War, made an indelible mark on setting up a democratic government as its first president. In his first 153 days, Washington unified the warring factions of the country; organized the State, Treasury and what was then called the War Department; set up the Supreme Court; and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in 1791.
There is hypocrisy: Washington and wife Martha owned 300 enslaved people who toiled on their Virginia plantation. He ripped nine of them away from their families to join him when he set up the government in New York, where slavery was not outlawed until 1807.
Hmm. Sounds about white America. Along with the inaccuracy of the term “Founding Fathers” being applied to a group of men who colonized a land already inhabited by people, there is absolutely room for a series critiquing a man who upheld the foundations of liberty and freedom following the American Revolutionary War...you know, except for that 3/5-of-human population with darker skin. Hell, this man—who established “the bedrocks of democracy”—is the same one who snatched African enslaved people’s teeth and showcased them as his own.
The series, which is being shopped around at networks and streamers, can essentially serve as a critique of America—an inherently racist country—as a whole.
Fuqua will also be filming in Louisiana soon for Emancipation, the upcoming film starring Will Smith as a runaway enslaved person, after pulling production out of Georgia due to the voter suppression bill signed by Governor Brian Kemp.