Colin in Black and White looks at the life of American Football star Colin Kaepernick, who narrates the story of his life from growing up onwards, starting with wanting his hair in cornrows as a teenager, with some suggesting he wants to be like basketball player Alven Iverson, who did the same.
Towards the end of Kaepernick’s career, in 2016, he first sat down during the national anthem, and then took the knee, as his way of protesting against racial injustice and police brutality in the US. Taking the knee is also something that’s come into football over here (i.e. soccer, to the US), today. However, since it generates a lot of boos from the audience, isn’t there another way the players can get the anti-racism message across? Perhaps, an emblem on their shirts? Perhaps, the symbol for Show Racism the Red Card which is of a black hand and white hand shaking hands, against a red backdrop? That would be a way to get the message across for the entire duration of the match, and not just the opening.
In this drama, we see the young Colin (Jaden Michael) with adoptive parents Teresa (Mary-Louise Parker – RED 2) and Rick (Nick Offerman – History Of Swear Words). While his birth father – African-American, of Ghanaian, Nigerian, and Ivorian ancestry – is unknown, his mother, Heidi Russo, is white, but she put him up for adoption at the age of five weeks.
At this point, I’ve only seen the first two episodes, which take in Colin, aged 14, with Teresa getting rather embarrassed since’s she’s white and she’s asking some black people where she can get Colin’s hair put in the aforementioned cornrows; and events move on to him wanting to be a quarterback, even though he’s quite scrawny compared to the average QB.
Colin narrates this both as voice and in person, albeit the latter rather too much, seeing him appear as if he’s looking back on his life in a wistful way. Why not just let the story tell itself, with occasional voice narration only?
That said, it’s also interesting that it mentions DJ Kool Herc, who accidentally missed a break-beat when putting a piece of music together, and it became a style used by scores of other poeple including Eric B & Rakim’s I Know You Got Soul.
At one point, Colin’s hairstyle is referred to as a “thug”, which we’re told came from the Thuggee cult who worshipped the Hindu goddess Kali Ma. I always thought that was something made up for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but I was this years old when I learned it’s actually a thing. At that point, the film, itself, gets a mention and they play the clip from the film where Mola Ram rips the boy’s heart out, he stays alive, and the heart is held aloft as it subsequently burns. That’s the one major clip which was always cut out of the PG-cert version of the film, but was later restored for the 12-certificate in 2012.
However, I’m not sure whether he’s trying to make a factual and statistical point early on, or just doesn’t seem to like white people very much. This is because he talks about how everything needs “the white man’s stamp of approval“, such as how 27.4% of black people looking for a mortgage in 2015 were not approved, that being twice the figure of white people, along with stating that a lot of the former suffered worse interest rates. Colin adds: “I think you can see where this is going”.
Yes, Colin, I can. You made a series which is less a story about your life, and more a lecture. So, I just watched two episodes because… I think I could see where this is going… and if I’m wrong in that, he needs to be more clear.
At this point, though, prior to broadcast, the trailer has been fairly ratio’d by people who haven’t seen it. This means that the like-to-dislike ratio on the Youtube trailer is not great. It currently has 3500 likes, and 1000 dislikes. You have to at least try something before you can form an opinion. It’s like how last year’s Cuties was similarly slammed by people who didn’t watch it. Sure, it wasn’t a great film, but… you have to watch something first.
However, as for the rest of this one-off series, like one of Colin’s actions with the ball… I’ll pass.
Thanks to our friends at Netflix for the screener prior to release.
Colin in Black and White is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday October 29th.
Episodes 1-2 Score: Pass
Running time: 30-35 mins per episode
Release date: October 29th 2021
Series Directors: Robert Townsend, Sheldon Candis, Ava DuVernay, Kenny Leon, Angel Kristi Williams
Creators: Ava DuVernay, Colin Kaepernick
Writers: Ava DuVernay, Colin Kaepernick, Teri Schaffer, Michael Starrbury, Raynelle Swilling, Josiah Johnson, Evan Ball, Natasha Trotter
Young Colin Kaepernick: Jaden Michael
Narrator: Colin Kaepernick
Teresa Kaepernick: Mary-Louise Parker
Rick Kaepernick: Nick Offerman
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.