Colin in Black and White

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick are joining forces for a new Netflix series.

They’ve created Colin in Black and White, a limited series which “will focus on Kaepernick’s formative high school years, lending meaningful insight into the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today.” But this isn’t a documentary series – it will be scripted, and Kaepernick will serve as the show’s narrator.

In 2016, Kaepernick (who was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers at the time) sparked a firestorm of discussion when he kneeled instead of standing during the national anthem in an attempt to protest racial injustice and police brutality. The act became a political hot topic, and while many people praised the way Kaepernick used his platform to speak out against injustice, many others (the president of the United States included) refused to engage with Kaepernick’s larger points and instead claimed that he was disrespecting the flag – and by extension, the country – by kneeling.

Kaepernick became a free agent after the 2016 season, and has yet to be signed by another team. In the wake of his kneeling, he became one of the country’s most high-profile activists, and the rest of the world finally caught up with Kaepernick this year when protests against police brutality and racial inequality spread across the globe after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

But this show wasn’t cooked up on the back of these protests. Colin in Black and White was initially conceived in 2019, and the scripts for the show were just recently completed. Michael Starrbury, who co-wrote Netflix’s powerful limited series When They See Us alongside DuVernay, wrote the scripts for this show, and Starrbury will executive produce with Kaepernick and DuVernay. The show “provides an introspective look at Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family and his journey to become a great quarterback while defining his identity.”

“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,” DuVernay said in a press release. “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. “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.”

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