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Amazon's Post-Civil War Show Is Getting A Very Different Response Than "Confederate"

"See how alt-history is handled by black creatives?"

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According to Deadline, Black America, which is still in development, envisions an alternate post-Reconstruction history in which newly freed African Americans take over the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as reparations for slavery.

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They form an independent nation called New Colonia that continues to have "a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming 'Big Neighbor,' both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc." When the series begins, New Colonia has become a major industrialized nation, while the US is on the decline.

McGruder is no stranger to writing about race relations in America given the success of the Peabody Award-winning comic and TV series The Boondocks. He also has some experience writing alternative history with his show Black Jesus.

Giphy / Via theurbandaily.cassiuslife.com

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Amazon and to McGruder for more information on Black America.

Packer told Deadline they are "bringing on the appropriate historians to make sure we are telling the story in an accurate and responsible way."

Paras Griffin / Via Getty Images

“Even though the story is set in contemporary society, not post-slavery, it relies on us being factually correct in telling the story of how we got to a contemporary society where you’ve got a sovereign country that is run by black Americans.”

A couple of weeks ago, HBO announced that its next project with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be Confederate, a series that imagines an America in which chattel slavery still exists.

Lester Cohen / WireImage

It was first reported by Richard Rushfield in The Ankler newsletter that the reason HBO announced Confederate, a show that likely wouldn't reach airwaves until 2019, in July was due to the fact that Amazon had a competing project that also reimagined post-Civil War America.

There was immediate backlash when HBO announced the show, and though they're standing by it, even Casey Bloys, HBO's programming president, recently admitted that the announcement was "misguided."

Filmmagic / FilmMagic for HBO

"The idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care and thought on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided on our part," he said at the Television Critics Association 2017 summer press tour last week.

This past weekend, during Game of Thrones, there was an online protest calling for people to tweet #NoConfederate during the episode.

Because, for some, the Confederacy isn't alt-history. It's right now. #NoConfederate @hbo

HBO responded with a statement that read: "We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate. We have faith that Nichelle [Spellman], Dan, David and Malcolm [Spellman] will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see."

Black America, however, is trending on Twitter because people are responding enthusiastically to the project.

If Amazon is really about it, they'll have this premiere at the same time/go head to head with, you know, that othe… https://t.co/x8KVmINQAS

Antz vs. A Bug's Life got nothing on this https://t.co/CTxm9H1meC

See how alt-history is handled by Black creatives? https://t.co/OuPgu9hnA7

Checkmate. https://t.co/d1zNyQc3Wu via @deadline

Packer did not address Confederate directly in his Deadline interview, but said, "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."

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"The fact that there is the contemplation of contemporary slavery makes it something that I would not be a part of producing nor consuming," Packer said. "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.”

Marcus Jones is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Marcus Jones at marcus.jones@buzzfeed.com.

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