Amazon Plans Rival to HBO's Confederate

'Black America' will focus on 'New Colonia,' secured by freed slaves after Reconstruction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2017 9:16 AM CDT
Amazon Plans Rival to HBO's Confederate
Producer William Packer attends a screening of "Ride Along" on Jan. 15, 2014, in New York.   (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

A sovereign nation called New Colonia—made up of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, acquired by former black slaves after Reconstruction in a reparations deal—has maintained a "tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship" with "Big Neighbor," the remainder of the United States. That's the premise of Black America, Amazon's response of sorts to Confederate, HBO's controversial new project by the Game of Thrones showrunners. Response has been fired up for the latter alt-history series, which speculates on what life would be like in modern times if the South had seceded and slavery hadn't been outlawed. The Amazon show, meanwhile, is the brainchild of producer Will Packer, whose credits include Straight Outta Compton, and Aaron McGruder, a screenwriter and creator of The Boondocks comic strip.

The Amazon series wasn't created specifically in response to Confederate—it was first announced by Deadline in February, with sparse details—but HBO's reveal last month prompted the creators of Black America to speak up. It was "the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted," Packer tells Deadline. He doesn't comment specifically on David Benioff and DB Weiss' Confederate, but he does say he wouldn't take part in "producing [or] consuming" any show that tackled modern-day slavery, as "slavery is far too real and far too painful" for him to ever see it as "entertainment." Meanwhile, April Reign, the activist who started the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag—and also the #NoConfederate one—tells Variety she supports the Amazon initiative, as it will "show black and brown people thriving in this country." (More Amazon stories.)

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