*Alt History seems to be the buzzword in TV development right now, with the recently announced HBO show “Confederate” garnering a strong backlash for its controversial plot.
That particular show imagines a timeline where the Confederacy was never defeated, and instead is still thriving in modern-day America which of course means, “Slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.”
In a weird synchronicity of events it turns out that Amazon has also been quietly developing an alternative history show that deals with the legacy of slavery and the civil war, just from the exact opposite angle.
The show titled “Black America” is being developed by producer extraordinaire Will Packer, who’s experienced major success with recent box office hits like “Straight Outta Compton,” “Girls Trip” and “Ride Along” who’s working alongside Aaron McGruder the testy genius behind “The Boondocks.”
The show posits a version of contemporary America where African Americans were gifted reparations in the form of land, namely the southern states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. These states form the basis for a new country known as New Colonia, which shares a border with the United States. The plot of the show will reportedly go into the history behind the tumultuous 150 year long relationship between the two nations, with New Colonia shown to be a quickly rising world power, while America falls into decline. A bold pitch, if we’ve ever seen one.
While it’s important to note that Black America is not a reaction to Confederate, having been in the works for about a year now, the recent announcement has definitely come in response to the heated discussion surround the latter. Speaking about why the project excited him so much, when it was initially proposed by Amazon Studios Director Ron Price, Packer said:
“You would be hard pressed to find many black Americans who have not thought about the concept of reparation, what would happen if reparations were actually given. As a content creator, the fact that that is something that has been discussed thoroughly throughout various demographics of people in this country but yet never been explored, to my knowledge, in any real way in long-form content, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to delve into the story, to do it right.”
In the aftermath of incidents like the one at Charlottesville, questions of how institutions, government and race relations are still effected by the lengthy shadow of slavery, are just begging to be handled by Black artists sensitive of these issues themselves.