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Amazon to counter-program ‘Confederate’ with reparations-themed ‘Black America’

Source: USA Today

By Jayme Deerwester

Amazon is hoping that viewers who registered their disapproval of HBO’s upcoming slavery drama Confederate will have a positive reaction to their own alternate-history series, Black America.

As in Confederate, from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Black America takes place in a universe where the South has seceded from the Union. But where Confederate imagines slavery as a modern-day institution, the Amazon offering focuses on freed slaves who form their own country, New Colonia, out of the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, given to them as reparations for the country’s original sin.

New Colonia has been at peace with the United States for twenty years following 150 years of fighting. But their newfound accord is endangered by an economic role reversal: the new country has emerged as a new global power player as America slides into decline.

“It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American,” William Packer (Straight Outta Compton), who is partnering with Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, told Deadline in a story published Tuesday. “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 added that the Black America team is working with a team of historians, explaining, “Even though the story is set in contemporary society, not post-slavery, it relies on us being factually correct in telling the story of how we got to a contemporary society where you’ve got a sovereign country that is run by black Americans.”

Amazon announced the project earlier this year with little detail or fanfare. Packer says the show is now in “active development” but did not mention how far along it is, when it will premiere or whether anyone has been cast.

It now appears to be positioning Black America as counterprogramming. It marks the streaming platform’s second original alternate-history series after The Man in the High Castle. That show imagines an America occupied by the Nazis and Japanese after the Axis powers won World War II.

Packer sidestepped direct questions about Confederate; however, he noted, “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.”

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