'Boondocks' Creator Preps Alt-History Drama 'Black America'

Aaron McGruder's new series imagines what reparations for slavery, African-American control of three states might look like

'Boondocks' creator Aaron McGruder is prepping new alt-history series that imagines what reparations for slavery might look like. Credit: Gail Burton/AP

Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder's new Amazon drama, Black America, will envision an alternate history in which African Americans are given control of three Southern states as reparations for slavery, Deadline reports. McGruder has been developing the show with producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton, Girls Trip).

Black America centers around the premise that after Reconstruction, freed African Americans are given control of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and allowed to form their own sovereign nation, New Colonia. New Colonia's first century-and-a-half is fraught with assassinations, coups and regime changes, and further marred by an often violent relationship with its northern neighbor, the United States. But in the present day, the neighboring countries have been at peace for 20 years and New Colonia is ascending the ranks of industrialized nations. However, the U.S. is simultaneously in decline, threatening the fates of the inextricably tied nations.

News that McGruder and Packer were working on an alternate history show broke in February, but Packer said the decision to divulge the specifics was made after HBO announced its own post-Civil War alternate history, Confederate. That show – helmed by Game of Thrones creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – imagines an America where the South successfully seceded and slavery remains legal. Confederate immediately sparked a backlash online, with the viral hashtag, #NoConfederate, and writer Roxane Gay denouncing the series as "slavery fan fiction" in a New York Times op-ed.

"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," Packer said of the decision to detail Black America.

Packer declined to comment directly on Confederate, saying only that he would not produce, nor consume anything that contemplates contemporary slavery. "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," he said.

As for Black America, Packer said the show is in "very, very active development." McGruder is writing the series and while the show will be an hour-long drama, Packer noted, "It wouldn't be Aaron McGruder without traces of his trademark sardonic wit."

Packer said he hopes Black America's attempts to answer the question of what reparations for slavery might look like will offer an opportunity to examine real issues facing contemporary America. Packer said Black America "will speak to where we are now and the mistakes this country has made and the things we should do going forward."