Looks like The Man in the High Castle won’t be the only alternate-history series set to air on Amazon. The studio has announced it is working on Black America, a one-hour drama from movie producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton) and Peabody Award winner Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks, Black Jesus).
The announcement comes hot on the heels of HBO’s controversial alt-history drama series Confederate from Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, which is set in an alternate timeline where the southern states have seceded and slavery is legal and has “evolved into a modern institution.”
In the works for over a year now, Amazon’s take is similar to that of HBO’s in that it explores a world where the southern states have left the Union, but the approach will be vastly different. Here’s the gist of Black America (as per Deadline):
It envisions an alternate history where newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparations for slavery, and with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The sovereign nation they formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc. Today, after two decades of peace with the U.S. and unprecedented growth, an ascendant New Colonia joins the ranks of major industrialized nations on the world stage as America slides into rapid decline. Inexorably tied together, the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance.
It was HBO’s announcement that prompted Amazon Studios to reveal they had been working on something similar-ish, with Packer saying: “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 says that while it’s too early to talk about Black America’s message (the show is still being hammered away), it will set out to answer some questions, including:
“What 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 disproportionally imprisons black and brown people, you can trace that back for many reasons to slavery.”
Adding that in the end, Black America will “speak to where we are now and the mistakes this country has made and things we should do going forward.”
Are you intrigued by Amazon’s alt-history series Black America?