Amazon’s ‘Black America’ Imagines a New Nation in the South – New York Times

Both series will land in an America that seems as racially divided as ever, where symbols of the Confederacy are still the subject of headlines. But the Amazon series takes a different tack, setting aside the “What if the South had won?” trope.

In the back story of “Black America,” the Confederacy was defeated. But instead of enduring the painful eras of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, African-Americans received reparations. The former slaves and freedmen claimed Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, a nation known as New Colonia.

That nation has a “tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship” with the United States, which is described as both an ally and a foe.

The series picks up in the current day, when New Colonia and the United States have enjoyed two decades of peace, but the new nation is growing rapidly while the old one declines.

“It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American,” Mr. Packer told Deadline. “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. As a content creator, 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.”

On Twitter, Mr. Packer reiterated that the show was not in response to “Confederate.”

But he addressed HBO’s show in his Deadline interview, saying “the fact that there is the contemplation of contemporary slavery makes it something that I would not be a part of producing nor consuming.”

He added, “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.”

“Black America” will be Amazon’s second high-profile foray into alternative history. In 2015, “The Man in the High Castle” imagined a 1960s in which the allies lost World War II, with Nazi Germany and Japan splitting up the United States. That series, loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel, also drew some controversy at first, after an advertising campaign that included decorating New York subway trains with Nazi symbolism.


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Amazon’s ‘Black America’ Imagines a New Nation in the South – New York Times