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Amazon trolls HBO with its own alt-history drama, Black America

on August 01, 2017, 6:00pm

HBO and Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff drew a great deal of ire when they announced their next project would be Confederate, a show about an alternate history in which the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union. Today, in a move calculated as a response to the uproar, Amazon has announced Black America, an upcoming series from the Peabody-winning creator of The Boondocks and Black Jesus, Aaron McGruder, and producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man, Straight Outta Compton).

Like Confederate, Black America also envisions a future in which the South has left the Union, but instead postulates that newly freed African Americans have taken Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as reparations for slavery and named this new sovereign nation New Colonia. The series will examine the two countries at times tumultuous and violent relationship in the years following the Civil War, and will open at the end of a twenty year period which saw New Colonia join the ranks of the leading industrialized nations while America saw its star fade.

In a statement to Deadline, Parker confirmed the Confederate announcement played into the decision to reveal the project, which has been in development for over a year, 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,” Parker continued. “The fact that there is the contemplation of contemporary slavery makes it something that I would not be a part of producing nor consuming. 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.”

On the heels of Thrones, Weiss and Benioff seemed untouchable, but the #NoConfederate movement has grown so intense that some are wondering if the show, which will be written and created with African American writers/showrunners Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, will ever see the light of day. The hubris HBO showed in not properly announcing such a controversial topic certainly hurt the series right out of the gate, and Amazon and Black America now seem primed to capitalize on that mistake.