Colin in Black and White is OUTSTANDING

I recently had the pleasure of screening Colin Kaepernick’s limited Netflix series, Colin in Black and White, and let me tell you; it is OUTSTANDING!! Netflix was SMART to bet on Ava DuVernay (filmmaker) and Colin Patrick, activist and former NFL football player who gained international exposure and started one hell of a movement when he began to kneel during the playing of America’s National Anthem to protest racial injustice in America) when the two paired up to create what is sure to be a Netflix Smash, “Colin in Black and White.”

Back in 2017, I often wondered what made Colin so passionate about his cause as the backlash was tremendously costing him his career, but after watching Netflix, “Colin in Black and White,” I no longer wonder. This limited series makes it clear that Colin, like so many other courageous activists, got (in my Fannie Lou Hammer’s voice) sick and tired of being “Sick and Tired!” and one day on a football field, he just said, “Enough!”

One might think this series would revolve around the circumstances of the NFL tragedy (yes, I said, tragedy), but in actuality, the storyline is oh so much more. Colin takes us on his journey of being a bi-racial African American adopted and raised by White privileged parents, learning how to navigate and understand that his parent’s “white privilege” was, in fact, not his! The series enlightens us to the ignorance and or misunderstanding of the African American experience and culture.

Colin in Black and White puts a clear perspective of Colin’s passion and compelling need to keep kneeling at all costs. Ava Duvernay does a magnificent job weaving in lessons of African American culture and history and offering the audience great cinematography and directing.   Ok, so that was my take on screening the series, now you can check out the trailer for the new drama above, and read more about the inspiration behind the series below:

Ava DuVernay has become a trusted filmmaker and TV producer who people turn to tell their truths, giving her subjects a platform to share their lives through captivating and inspiring storytelling.  In 2017, DuVernay met activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had been propelled into the spotlight after advocating and protesting for social justice issues both on the field and off. The two teamed up for the new Netflix series Colin in Black and White, which tells his origin story through the lens of his formative years, showing how someone rises to greatness and what it takes to give up your dream to stand up for what you believe in.

How did this project come to life?

Colin Kaepernick: In high school, I faced a lot of different challenges from sports to my family, and other parts of my personal life, which a lot of viewers may be able to relate to. But I also faced obstacles as a Black kid growing up in a white family in a white community. After meeting Ava DuVernay in 2017, I knew she was the right person to collaborate with. I shared my idea to create a series based on my high school years and she said, “Ok, Let’s do it.” And we started working together to bring these stories to life in the most impactful and compelling way possible.

Ava DuVernay:  Colin called me and shared that he wanted to tell the story of his childhood somehow. What interested me was the idea that, through his story, I could shed light on a core belief that I hold: that we can all be the hero, the lead character, of our own lives. It sounds simple, but it’s a powerful idea. Are you the supporting character in your life? Taking cues from others? Your story only matters when it’s tangential to someone else? Or is your story centered within you? Your hopes and dreams and priorities and beliefs are planted in the forefront, not the background. Bottom line, I was interested in the process of becoming the star of your own life. This doesn’t mean not being of service to others or being selfish and ego-driven. It means having the confidence to stand up and stand strong for oneself so that you can be the best version of yourself. Through Colin’s story, the team and I were able to explore this idea in ways that we hope will resonate with the audience.

 

What was important to you when you were crafting this story?

Kaepernick: Colin in Black and White is a scripted limited series inspired by my experience as a Black child, adopted by a white family. I did not have a lot of references or guides growing up to help me navigate some of the negative experiences or interactions I went through as a young Black kid. When we were thinking about telling this story, we wanted to explore that idea more and give people references of how these situations can impact and shape one’s identity and growth.

DuVernay: It was vitally important to me that this wasn’t another autobiographical series about a famous person as a child. No disrespect to those shows, but it’s been done – and done well. I was interested in pushing a bit further into this storytelling trope. It was about challenging the process to determine how we could expand the core of a young person’s path to power into a story that can appeal widely and personally to others. The goal was to take the kernel of the idea and make it mean something to viewers whether they’re watching in Detroit or Dubai, Shreveport or Senegal. This is how the idea of weaving cultural and historical context with the young person’s story came to my mind. This is how I approached the story construction as Michael Starrbury and his stellar writing team went to draft the ideas. The aim always was to allow Colin’s story to catapult viewers into a broader understanding of their own journey alongside the various histories and cultural legacies that each of our lives is impacted by.

What do you hope people take away from the series?

Kaepernick: This was an opportunity to open a window into experiences inspired by my high school years. I want Black and Brown kids and their communities to find guidance in how we can combat racism and oppressive systems. I hope someone can see that they too can come out on the other side and be able to say, “I faced those struggles. I’ve worked through them, and I was able to be successful and come out the other end, keeping my dignity and my identity intact.”

DuVernay:  I hope people feel compelled to examine their own origin story. How did I get here? What things happened – small and large, remembered and forgotten – that led me to this place now? This series is about deciding for yourself what your life and legacy will be. It’s about self-determination, self-propulsion, not waiting for permission, not waiting for everyone to agree, tapping into the voice inside of you and letting that spur you forward. And it’s about knowing that within your individual story, you are also a part of something larger. My highest hope is that some viewers will walk away with some of these thoughts and questions.

Kaepernick: This is a journey. You are always growing, always evolving. And we want to welcome everyone into that process.

DuVernay: And we want to remind people to honor oneself. Because if you’re still standing, and you’ve experienced any of these challenges, then you are on your path. Keep taking your steps. One after another, after another. Because there is glory in your steps. Again, THERE IS GLORY IN THE STEPS. You are the hero of your own story. Remember that.

This six-part limited series will be released Friday, October 29, 2021, on Netflix. Make sure you add this one to your Watch List!

 

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