Black America: Amazon’s Own Post-Civil War Alt-History Series Will See Freed Slaves Form Their Own Country
Clarisse Loughrey, Independent, August 2, 2017
HBO’s PR nightmare over Confederate just got handed a major blow.
Amazon has shown its own hand and revealed it’s been working on its own post-Civil War, alt-history series: Black America, which imagines a post-reparations America in which freed slaves have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to form the sovereign nation of New Colonia.
This new country faces tense, sometimes violent relations with its “Big Neighbour” the United States, which acts both as ally and foe. The past 150 years have borne witness to military incursions, assassinations, coups, and regime changes; however, New Colonia has grown to join the ranks of industrialised world nations, while the US has sunk into a rapid decline.
Though Black America has been in development for some time now, Deadline reports Amazon was prompted to reveal the show’s premise as a response to Confederate, with HBO’s project imagining an alternate future in which the Southern states have successfully seceded from the US and slavery has remained legal.
It just so happens that Black America is exactly the kind of show many of those campaigning against Confederate – its utterly naive manipulation of white supremacist fantasy and the lingering pain of slavery – have offered as a much better take on alt-history.
The drama hails from feature producer Will Packer (Straight Outta Compton) and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder.
“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 stated.
Though he didn’t comment directly on Confederate, he stated 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.”
Black America, however, will imagine what would have happened “if reparations were given, what would this country and that alternate country look like today, how would Americans look, our communities, relations, 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 disproportionately imprisons black and brown people, you can trace that back for many reasons to slavery.”