New show 'Black America' imagines reparations for freed slaves

New Amazon show "Black America" is the complete opposite of HBO's "Confederate."

ByABC News
August 2, 2017, 3:37 PM
Will Packer, left and Aaron McGruder.
Will Packer, left and Aaron McGruder.
Getty Images

— -- Two weeks after the widespread backlash against HBO's "Confederate," which imagines an alternate version of American history in which slavery still exists, another alt-history series in the works, "Black America," had drawn praise from many on social media.

The series in development presents a very different outcome to the Civil War.

Deadline first reported on the new series which has been in the works at Amazon for over a year. Helmed by Peabody winner Aaron McGruder ("The Boondocks") and producer Will Packer ("Straight Outta Compton" "Girls Trip"), "Black America" imagines an alternate history in which freed slaves are given Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama after the Civil War as reparations for slavery.

The series will focus on the present day relationship between the new nation, New Colonia, and its "big neighbor," the United States, as the former joins other industrialized nations and the latter slides into decline.

Although Deadline first announced the then-untitled project back in February, Packer told the website that the announcement by HBO of its new series prompted him to come forward with more details.

"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 told Deadline.

He said the idea originally came from Amazon Studios' head of content Roy Price, who reached out to him.

"I was immediately enthralled by the idea," Packer said. "I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what a provocative and bold piece of content it could be."

"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 said, adding that he thought this was "a tremendous opportunity to delve into the story, to do it right."

"Black America," he said, "will speak to where we are now and the mistakes this country has made and things we should do going forward."

In contrast to "Confederate," by "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, the announcement of "Black America" has drawn cheers from many, including #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, who is spearheading the #NoConfederate campaign on Twitter.

"Will Packer's new series on Amazon is a much better representation of alt-history than what was proposed by Benoiff and Weiss," Reign told ABC News. "I support Packer's project as it will focus on black and brown people thriving in this country, something that isn't shown enough on screen. I'm also confident that, based on Mr. Packer's previous track record, the crew behind the camera will be much more inclusive than we've seen from "'Game of Thrones.'"

Director Matthew Cherry was also thrilled by the news.

Others took a swipe at the HBO series.

A few expressed their disdain for "Black America."