Netflix Announces New Series on Colin Kaepernick's High School Years with Creator Ava DuVernay
The streaming service announced Monday that a scripted limited series examining the adolescent life of the athlete and activist is in the works. Colin in Black & White, created by Kaepernick and the Emmy-winning filmmaker, will focus on his formative high school years, "lending meaningful insight into the acts and experiences" that led to his efforts to fight police brutality and systemic racism.
Michael Starrbury writes and serves as executive producer, alongside DuVernay, 47, and Kaepernick, 32, who will also be the narrator.
The six-episode series was conceived in 2019, and the script was completed in May. Colin in Black & White will provide an introspective look at Kaepernick's life, from his early years as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family to his NFL journey and beyond.
The limited series reunites Starrbury and DuVernay, who last worked together on Netflix's acclaimed When They See Us, which received 16 Emmy nominations and was recently honored with a Peabody Award.
Kaepernick famously began the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016, when he kneeled during the national anthem as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to call attention to the issues of racial inequality. The demonstrations made him the target of critics who thought kneeling during the anthem was intended to be disrespectful toward the flag and troops. (In fact, it was a former Green Beret who advised Kaepernick to kneel instead of remaining seated during the protests.)
The #TakeAKnee movement attracted renewed support in May after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer forcibly placed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
After opting out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017, Kaepernick has not played in an NFL game in almost four years.
"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," said DuVernay in a statement. "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," Kaepernick said. "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."
"We're proud to bring Colin's experience and his creative vision to life as he joins Ava to share his powerful story and message with all our members around the world," said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix. "It is an unparalleled union of two strong and defining voices coming together to tell the story about what it's like to be Black in America."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.