If you’re among those who plan on boycotting HBO’s upcoming alt-history drama Confederate, Amazon has some counter-programing that might be more up your alley.
Black America—from William Packer (Straight Outta Compton), and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder—will explore a world in which African Americans were freed after the Civil War and given their own country as reparations for slavery, Deadline reports.
The country—called New Colonia—is made up of the states formerly known as Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and finds itself in an age of great prosperity when the series kicks off. America meanwhile, is in rapid decline, which escalates tensions between the neighboring nations.
The premise is a stark contrast to the controversial Confederate, which was met with a firestorm of outrage when it was announced recently. From the minds of Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Confederate imagines a world where the South successfully seceded, and slavery was never abolished. Observers were quick to point out the inherit problems with a show that depicts modern day slavery, and HBO was forced to go on the defensive.
Perhaps seeing an opening, Amazon pounced. The show was first announced with little fanfare in February, described as something in the vein of Amazon Studios’ other alt-history show, The Man in The High Castle. It’s no coincidence that Amazon decided to offer details about the show in the aftermath of the Confederate controversy.
When speaking to Deadline, Packer avoided addressing Confederate directly, but explained what his show might mean to black Americans. “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,“ he said.
“As a content creator,” Packer added, “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.”
He also acknowledged that the Confederate announcement is what prompted the Black America team to reveal what they had in the works, not because they wanted to provide an antidote to HBO’s show, but because they wanted to prove that it wasn’t reactionary.
“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,“ he said.
It should come as no surprise that the same cultural critics that condemned Confederate have praised Black America. One of those critics is April Reign, whose #NoConfederate campaign was trending during last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones.
“I support Packer’s project as it will focus on black and brown people thriving in this country, something that isn’t shown enough on screen,” she told Vanity Fair. “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.”
It may be some time before we see the first episode of Black America, but its depiction of a legitimately radical reimagining of American history can’t come soon enough.