HBO made waves when it announced that its new show, Confederate, would look at an alternate history where the South won the Civil War and continued the institution of slavery. Amazon took the opportunity to pitch a show of their own: Black America, an alternative history show where freed slaves were given the states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi as reparations, which then becomes its own country known as New Colonia.
Created by Aaron McGruder and Will Packer, the show will take place in modern-day and look at how the countries have developed in tandem. Packer told Deadline that the concept is particularly fascinating because of how unexplored it is:
“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.”
People continue to be upset over Confederate‘s premise, especially considering that the minds behind the project are the same duo behind Games of Thrones, a show that does not shy away from graphic representations of sexual violence, torture, and death. There are several campaigns online asking HBO not to move forward with the show, given the country’s current political climate. Amazon is smart to piggyback off the controversy with a show that provides the opposite approach — empowering the Black community rather than continuing, and potentially fetishizing, the oppression of said community.
Amazon might soon be specializing in these alternative history shows, as they already have the popular alternate history show The Man in the High Castle, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick about a world where the Axis powers won WWII.
Neither show has a cast, script, or pilot yet, so whether or not either show will come to fruition is very much up in the air, but you have to admit, it would be an interesting social experiment to see how demographics and ratings fall for both of these potential series.