Gayle King: Colin Kaepernick ‘Has Always Been on the Right Side of History’

Ava DuVernay has one message for viewers who tune into “Colin in Black & White,” the new Netflix series she co-created with Colin Kaepernick.

“I hope people don’t leave thinking that it’s just a show about Colin,” DuVernay told Variety at the show’s premiere on Thursday at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. “I hope they see this as a show that can help them interrogate their own lives.”

Ahead of the screening of the first three episodes, Kaepernick received a standing ovation when he walked onto the stage of the David Geffen Theater. “I’ll start by first thanking Ava on this journey,” he said. “I said, ‘I have this idea, trying to make a show, where do you think I should start? And she said, ‘let’s do it.’”

Kaepernick said of the cast and crew, “They handled my stories, and our stories, with such care and it’s something I’m truly appreciative of, and I hope that comes through.”

“Colin in Black & White” takes a deep dive into Kaepernick’s youth. With very little portrayals of his national peaceful protests, the series instead focuses on a young Colin being raised by his adoptive white parents and finding his place in a community with which he didn’t identify.

Gayle King, Regina King, Asante Black and fellow athletes Rajon Rondo, Eric Reid and Nick Young were among those who came out to support the premiere. “We’re dealing with the same issues that Colin raised back then, which lets you know that he has always been on the right side of history,” Gayle King told Variety.

Kaepernick appears on screen during the series as its narrator. Jaden Michael stars as the teenage Kaepernick with his parents Rick and Teresa played by Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker.

Michael said he wants viewers to see Kaepernick other than just a national symbol. “I want them to feel more connected with his person, his human,” the actor said.

Offerman said there was a discomfort with playing a father who doesn’t understand his Black son’s identity, saying, “We’ve had to turn our heads back 15-20 years to a time when people believed differently and were so unaware, and that was hard.”

The “Parks and Recreation” star also talked about the importance of viewers seeing the series: “People can be good hearted, but still be a part of a white supremacy paradigm and be completely unaware of it. Where they get their news, who they’re around, truly does shape them. So films that show the other side like this are important.”

Head writer and co-executive producer Michael Starrbury said he hopes the story relays a message to young people: “In your life, you may start out wanting to be one thing, like a quarterback, but as you’re going through your life in your formative years, one day you might be brave enough to sacrifice it all.”

Black, who worked with both DuVernay and Starrbury on “When They See Us,” said Kaepernick is an inspiration. “Colin is a hero, and we salute him,” Black said.

All six episodes of “Colin in Black & White” are available on Netflix.

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