Most of the time when an NFL quarterback agrees to a project about their life, much of the focus would normally be on their on-field work. But that won’t be the case with the newly announced Netflix series based around Colin Kaepernick. While Kaepernick was at one point a good QB that took the 49ers to the brink of a Super Bowl title, he’s since become far more recognisable as an activist than a player.
Beginning in the 2016 season, he began taking a knee during the US national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality towards Black people. His peaceful protests drew national attention, but also the ire of the league that considered him a distraction and a threat to their bottom line.
Following that season, despite still being an above-average QB, Kaepernick was essentially black-balled by the NFL owners, and hasn’t played a down since.
That hasn’t stopped him using his platform to fight for justice and institutional change. And he will now use that platform to team with Ava DuVernay for a six-part scripted series based around his early life. The show will be titled Colin In Black & White. DuVernay described the project in an official press release:
“With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally. Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix”.
“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens”, said Kaepernick himself. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see”.
This should be fascinating. DuVernay is probably the best person Kap could have teamed with for this project; an empathetic director who has used her own platform to promote diverse creative voices and has consistently made films addressing societal injustice and the people who fight back. Think Selma, her documentary 13th, and the limited series When They See Us.
When They See Us writer and executive producer Michael Starrbury is also on board for this project, which is an added bonus.
Most projects focused on Kaepernick or someone in a similar position would dive right into the famous portion of his life. That DuVernay is instead choosing to go back to his formative years is intriguing. It will be interesting to see what the end product looks like. Expect Colin In Black & White to be much talked about and one of Netflix’s bigger upcoming shows on its large docket.