When American football star Colin Kaepernick knelt during a national anthem, he overnight became a symbol of protest and division for race in the United States. He has now worked with Netflix to show what prompted a sports-loving teen to become a civil rights champion.
When young Kaepernick first explored and expressed his black identity, he did so through his hairstyle.
Prior to the distinctive afro, she got pigtails and braids in high school, but soon discovered that something as seemingly harmless as hair could raise strong opinions and opposition.
This is how the story is told in the first episode of Colin In Black and White, a bio-series that tells the story of Kaepernick’s origins, before he became a stellar quarterback and then a modern-day protest figure after kneeling in 2016. .
In the show, his hairstyle is a symbol of the challenges young Kaepernick had to overcome and which helped shape the personality of the man who resisted – or rather, couldn’t resist – the power of the American anthem and institution.
“He wanted to focus on his teenage years,” says Ava DuVernay, the Oscar-nominated director who co-created the series with Kaepernick.
“I was interested in taking the challenge and focusing on that because I thought that by focusing only on the teenage years, we can take a look at the foundation of this person who has become very important to our culture around the world.
“The building blocks of becoming who you are, the creation of a singular American icon, the creation of a warrior of justice – what are the things that make it up?
“And really it’s the little things.”
The six-part series, which arrived on Netflix on Friday, contains a number of relatively small things that are presented as significant in hindsight.
Kaepernick must accept and assert his identity in a white dominated community and a white adoptive family; he has to fight against coaches who neglect his talent for no apparent reason; and address the prejudices of hotel managers and the police.
“Looking at his early years, we can see someone who really listened to their voice, who really trusted their power at all times,” continues DuVernay.
“There were moments where he had to go against the grain. So you really see how each of those moments is equal to the person we have now.”
DuVernay interviewed Kaepernick about his youth to settle on the plots. Despite the real Kaepernick’s close involvement in the series, his 18-year-old star Jaden Michael says he “hasn’t spent much time” with the man he’s playing.
“We had a few meetings and met after production,” says the actor.
“I think the important part was to separate the Colin we know today and the young Colin, because they are two very different people.
“And the story isn’t really about, why did Colin get down on his knees? It’s about, why would anyone get down on his knees? What are the situations that would put a young man on a path where he would be the rebel and the leader to take a knee in the future?” “
The coming-of-age drama is a big break for its young star, whom DuVernay describes as “a really brilliant actor”.
Michael says he knows what it’s like to prove yourself when starting out – himself in acting, as did Kaepernick in sports.
“I learned a lot about being an addict and the power of being mentally strong, I guess,” says the actor.
“So was Colin. He was very dedicated, through everyone who told him no, through everyone who told him he couldn’t, that he wasn’t worth the bill.
“This is something that is not foreign to me. I’m used to hearing that. So knowing that if you keep going, there’s an opportunity for you somewhere, this was the main takeaway.”
While its creators claim the series shows what formed Kaepernick’s personality, it’s not the complete story. There’s a big gap – a decade – between the events featured in the series and the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s first protest against black oppression and police brutality.
That act sparked waves of support, soul searching, and anger in the United States.
It made him a hero to many. “I fell in love,” recalls Michael, who was about 13 at the time.
But Donald Trump – presidential candidate at the time – urged Kaepernick to “find a country that works better for him.”
The NFL said it would fine teams whose players did not line up for the Star-Spangled Banner. Kaepernick himself left the 49ers and never found a new team.
Taking the knee has become a symbol of opposition to discrimination around the world. But it remains very controversial.
This week, South African cricketer Quinton de Kock withdrew from a T20 World Cup match after refusing to kneel, and some England fans booed when their players made the gesture this summer.
Kaepernick, now 33, narrates the Wonder Years-style episodes, and occasionally appears on screen to wander through a viewing gallery of her life and offer thoughts about her younger self.
DuVernay, known for Selma and When They See Us, feared that since he is not a trained actor, it would be “a big mess” to direct. But his football training helped him.
“He has this incredible organized mind because he was an NFL quarterback, so he has hundreds of plays in his head,” he says, referring to the strategies memorized by the players.
“I was like, ‘Colin will you walk here, and on this line could you hit that mark?’ I was thinking it might be too much for this guy. He’s like, ‘Oh is that all?’
“In the end, I had plays and blocks and we were just having fun because he was so good. He’s really good at being himself in everyday life, so that translated into being himself on screen.”
The director also put him in touch with an acting teacher because “I think he has the vibe”.
“If there’s ever a black John Wick script out there that he wants to collaborate on, just give me a ring, because it might be fun,” he laughs.
So a show on the first chapter of his career could open the door to a new one in acting.
But his most memorable act will be the simple position for which he wrote the playbook.
- Black lives matter
- Race relations of the United States
- Black interest
Kaepernick’s story will become a TV series
- June 29, 2020
Timeline: Kaepernick protests and NFL dispute
- June 6, 2020
Kaepernick: From a man to a movement
- 11 October 2017
Why do footballers get down on their knees?
- 13 October
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This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source