From the minds of Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick, Colin in Black and White takes audiences on a journey through his high school years and the experiences that pushed him into activism.
This well-written drama series was executed beautifully via the DuVernay effect. You can literally see where she inserts her magic and it’s beautiful. Add Kaepernick’s authenticity to the mix and you have an extremely heavy, thought-provoking slate of episodes. Robert Townsend and Kenny Leon, two well-respected figures in black culture, contributed direction in a handful of episodes as well.
There have been a handful of series to debut in October, from the drama series about the Wu-Tang Clan to the discovery of a weight-loss cult in Tennessee. While the aforementioned are great projects, nothing hits quite like this, which is why I have to issue an extreme trigger warning. The uncomfortable family dynamic at home, the lack of support at home and at school, and the laundry list of micro aggressions will often result in cringe-like reactions. But those scenes were necessary as those experiences were a part of his life and millions of people will be able to relate.
Since the day I was born, I’ve never been anybody’s first choice.”Colin Kaepernick
With parents played by Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker, the stage was set for a young Jaden Michael to steal the show as a young Colin Kaepernick. Michael shined in his role and really expressed the pain, confusion, and sorrow involved in attempting to navigate life in predominantly white spaces.
The most dangerous space for black people is not an urban setting, a “hood”, or some “zone” with heavy drug traffic. The most dangerous place for a black person is a white space and the two most dangerous (white spaces) are educational (school) and professional (the workplace). From white people asking to touch your hair to the age old, “What are you doing here?” Jaden Michael accurately conveys the emotional rollercoaster one experiences when simply trying to exist among those who don’t think you should. From his early desire to have corn rows to his interest in black women, Kaepernick lacked that familial support and understanding that black and brown children desperately need growing up.
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to racism is trying to make sense of it. “I just don’t understand, why would he/she say that? Why would they do that?” Often people make the mistake of trying to make sense of something nonsensical. Racism doesn’t make any sense, it’s just hate, and yet, it’s a subject that’s still debated today as if it’s something difficult to comprehend. Kaepernick expresses this in his narration across the series from describing the realities of professional football to the difficulty in being the best (in sports) in high school.
One of the best series to hit Netflix, I give Colin in Black and White a 9.5 out of 10. Certain groups despise him and his name will bring immediate dread, but trust, this series is a solid look into what made the man we see today. A lot of people are going to trash this simply because it’s about him; and I’m pretty sure the NFL is going to have something to say about likening their combine process to slave trading… but it’s 100% accurate and it’s something that black people have discussed for decades.
Colin in Black and White will be available on Netflix starting Friday, October 29.