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Amazon Alt-History Series ‘Black America’ Imagines Slaves Given Southern States as Reparations

PackerMcGruder
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JEROME HUDSON

Amazon Studios has announced details for its new alt-history drama series Black America, from Hollywood super-producer Will Packer and The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, that imagines a present day world in which America is in decline and at war with inhabitants of a nation run by former slaves.

Set 150 years after newly freed slaves accepted the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as reparations for slavery, America and the sovereign nation of “New Colonia” must put their war-laden history behind them and become allies.

The series was first reported by Deadline in February; at the time it remained untitled and very few details about the project were known. Executive producers Packer and McGruder, however, decided to reveal the project’s premise following the furor over the news that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ next project at HBO would center on an alternate reality in which the South won the Civil War and slavery developed into a modern institution.

“It felt this was the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted and we are pretty far down the road with it,” Packer told Deadline.

Will Packer speaks onstage at “Girls Trip” Atlanta special screening at SCADshow on July 11, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

Aaron McGruder holds a Peabody Award he received for “Return of the King,” an episode from his animated series “The Boondocks,” during an awards luncheon in New York, Monday June 4, 2007. (AP Photos/Bebeto Matthews)

Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios’ content development, called Packer with an idea for the show more than a year ago.

“I was immediately enthralled by the idea; I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what a provocative and bold piece of content it could be,” said Packer, who fell in love with the project while working on his latest box office hit, Girls Trip. 

McGruder, Packer said, is “off and writing” content for the hour-long drama.

Ironically, “#OscarsSoWhite” activist April Reign, who spearheaded the #NoConfederate Twitter trend, is in support of the new Amazon show.

“I think it’s a much better representation of alt-history than what was proposed by Benioff and Weiss,” Reign told Variety. “I support this project as it will show black and brown people thriving in this country, something that isn’t shown enough on screen. I’m also confident that, based on Mr. Packer’s previous track record, the crew behind the camera will be much more inclusive than we’ve seen from Game of Thrones.”

For Amazon, Black America is the but its latest alt-history drama. In 2015, the retail giant adapted the bestseller The Man in the High Castle into a series. The drama, which explores a world where the Nazis have won World War II, has won multiple Emmy awards.

 

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson

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