The Oscar-nominated filmmaker, who is an executive producer on the new Netflix project, “Colin in Black & White,” tweeted to Michael on Friday, encouraging him to ignore Twitter trolls criticizing the 17-year-old actor for portraying the activist.
“Dear @ItsJadenMichael,” DuVernay wrote. “You’re on the right side of history. And you’re going to shine. Let the trolls troll. You rise. Love, A.”
Michael, who stars in the Netflix movie “Vampires vs. The Bronx,” responded to DuVernay’s tweet, sharing his gratitude for the message, which was joined by other supportive notes from Twitter users.
DuVernay and Kaepernick first announced “Colin in Black & White,” written by Michael Starrbury, back in June. Kaepernick and Starrburry also serve as executive producers on the project.
Kaepernick, who began famously kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at football games as a peaceful protest against racial injustice and police brutality, will narrate the six-episode series. The project will explore his high school years and give “meaningful insight into the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today,” a June announcement read.
On Tuesday, Kaepernick tweeted his excitement about Michael playing him in the series, calling the teen actor an “all-star.”
Michael responded to the activist’s praise on Twitter, writing that he was honored for the opportunity.
“Can’t wait to bring this much needed story to life, especially in these trying times,” he added.
Eric Reid, an NFL free agent and former safety for the Carolina Panthers, also joined the chorus of Twitter users who celebrated Michael’s casting news.
Reid notably joined Kaepernick’s protests by kneeling beside his friend and then-teammate at NFL games. Like Kaepernick, Reid has not been signed by a team in the league this season.
“I never thought you’d be casting someone this good looking to play you
@Kaepernick7,” Reid joked on Twitter. ”@ItsJadenMichael, you’re helping A LOT right now cuz I’m gonna go in on this pic next time I see Colin.”
Netflix has not yet announced when “Colin in Black & White” will hit the streaming service.