Colin Kaepernick, the beloved football player and activist, is joining forces with Ava DuVernay (When They See Us, 13th) for the limited drama series meant to be based off his life, Colin in Black & White. The six-episode series will focus on Kaepernick’s early adolescent life and how his experiences as a child and teen led him to become the activist he his today, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno where he played college football, Kaepernick was selected by the 49ers during the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He became backup quarterback for the team and later starting quarterback, leading his team to their first Super Bowl appearance since the early 90s. It wasn’t until the 49ers’ third preseason game in 2016 that the activist created a social discussion over police brutality, racial discrimination, and systemic oppression when he kneeled during the playing of the national anthem, in addition to causing a stir within the NFL by kneeling. Throughout the season, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem while several around him stood tall. These protests received highly polarized responses from Americans, some praising him for his courage to advocate for equality, while others ostracized him for his supposed disrespect towards our country’s ideals. His protests eventually caught the eye of President Trump, who then encouraged team owners to release players who continue to go against the norms. After becoming a free agent in 2017, Kaepernick filed a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing them of unlawfully keeping him off the league. He continues to fight for the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd to Minneapolis police.
Michael Starrbury (When They See Us) will executive produce Colin in Black & White alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick, via The Hollywood Reporter. Starrbury and DuVernay previously worked together on Netflix’s When They See Us, a series based on the true story of the Exonerated Five which deals with the same issues of police brutality, systemic oppression, and racial injustice in the United States.
The series was conceived in 2019. In a statement, DuVernay explains how Kaepernick’s activism sparked a larger conversation, “With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture, and for his, personally. Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier to tell this story with the team at Netflix,” via The Hollywood Reporter.
The series is said to be focused on the activist’s life as a Black child growing up among a white adoptive family and how it eventually led him to become the renowned quarterback and activist we see today. Kaepernick states, “Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens. We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore 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,” via The Hollywood Reporter.
Deviating from the world of football, Kaepernick has made more of a presence in the media in recent years. As of February, he signed a deal with Audible for the audio version of his upcoming book, according to The Hollywood Reporter. His unnamed memoir will be self-published via his new publishing company, Kaepernick Publishing, and will examine the experiences in his life that led him to kneeling during the U.S. national anthem and ultimately risking his career.