The athlete and activist has teamed up with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker for a new Netflix limited series, “Colin in Black & White,” which traces the origin story of one of the most influential figures in modern U.S. sports history.
Kaepernick will serve as executive producer alongside DuVernay, as well as narrate the six-episode drama series exploring his high school years, “lending meaningful insight into the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today,” per the press release.
Written by DuVernay’s “When They See Us” collaborator Michael Starrbury, “Colin in Black & White” aims to provide an “introspective look at Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family and his journey to become a great quarterback while defining his identity.”
Kaepernick was adopted at 5 weeks old by a white family and grew up in Turlock, California. He played football professionally for six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In his last season, he faced major pushback from NFL owners and the Trump administration for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
After the 2016 season, he left the 49ers and became a free agent, but remains unsigned to this day. The NFL has been widely accused of blackballing Kaepernick for his activism, which has seen renewed attention in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests.
“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” said Kaepernick in a press release about the Netflix series. “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.”
DuVernay added, “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. 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.”
Casting details and a release date for the series have yet to be announced, as film and television production is only recently starting up again amid coronavirus concerns.
DuVernay has made Netflix her home base as of late. After releasing the Academy Award-nominated documentary “13th” on the streaming service in 2016, she co-wrote, produced and directed the limited series “When They See Us,” which garnered multiple Emmy Awards.
After three seasons off the field, Kaepernick’s return to the NFL may be imminent, as multiple teams in recent weeks have been rumored to have expressed interest, while the league said it was willing to work with him to help “combat systemic racism and support the battle against injustices faced by African Americans.”