By Rachel Yang
June 29, 2020
Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury’s last collaboration brought us the harrowing, 16-time Emmy-nominated series When They See Us. Now, the two artists are working on another powerful story — the life of Colin Kaepernick.
Colin in Black & White, a new scripted limited series created by DuVernay and Kaepernick, follows the former San Francisco 49ers’ early life, Netflix announced on Monday. The football star made headlines in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem before games in protest of police brutality against Black people.
The series focuses on Kaepernick’s formative high school years, providing insight into the experiences that informed his activism today. Starrbury writes and serves as executive producer, alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick, who narrates the series.
The six-episode series, which was developed in 2019 and completed writing in May, also touches on Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family, his athletic career, and finding his identity.
“With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with farreaching 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,” added Kaepernick. “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.”
No release date has been announced yet.
Last year’s When They See Us, which DuVernay created, co-wrote, and directed, shed light on the reallife story of five male teenagers of color who were falsely accused and prosecuted for the sexual assault of a woman in New York City. Jharrel Jerome won an Emmy for his portrayal of Korey Wise, one of the Central Park Five, while DuVernay and Starrbury were nominated for writing the fourth episode.
In February, Kaepernick revealed he’s releasing his memoir later this year through his newly launched publishing label; the book has been described as “part political awakening and part memoir.”
Starrbury is repped by Circle of Confusion and attorney Rob Szymanski.