It seems like making shows based on alternative history is in vogue these days. Following the success of shows with alternative history themes: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Man in the High Castle,” and the announcement of HBO’s own “Confederate”, news surfaced that Aaron McGruder and Will Packer are producing a series for Amazon, that will also provide an “alternate history” of the US.
The show titled “Black America” envisions an alternate version of history where newly freed African Americans slaves purchased Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as reparations for slavery, to form a nation called New Colonia. The new nation has a troublesome and sometimes violent relationship with its much bigger neighbor and frenemy, the United States.
The two producers set to anchor the show, Aaron McGruder and Will Packer, are household names and have an amazing record of commercial and critical success. McGruder was the creator of the popular and often controversial cartoon strip and animated series, “The Boondocks” and the co-creator of “Black Jesus.” Packer is known as a prolific producer who was involved with the production of Straight Outta Compton, Ride Along and Think Like a Man franchises.
News of the duo working on a project for Amazon had originally surfaced back in February but at the time was still untitled. However, after the HBO announcement, Parker believed it was the appropriate time to re-introduce creation of the series. He confirmed that the show was already in active development. The idea of reparations appealed to the duo and is something the Black community has often pondered. Asking “what if” and imagining what could have been seemed like an idea too good to let go. Parker also confirmed that actual historians are serving as consultants for the show, making it as realistic as possible.
The show is expected to be an hour long episodic drama set in contemporary times. Given the track record of both men, expect to see a show with a lot of drama and a healthy dose of sarcastic wit. The show isn’t expected to air till 2019.
– Afolabi Ashiru