Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Colin In Black & White - What We Know So Far

Former professional quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a polarizing figure since he took a knee as the national anthem played at National Football League (NFL) games in 2016, foreshadowing incidents of police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests in the years following. His actions, followed by a career downturn, led to accusations that the NFL was blackballing him as a result of his political activities rather than his on-field behavior (via the Chicago Tribune). Today, he's known more for his civil rights activism than his athletic prowess, but he remains a compelling public figure.

That became very clear in 2020 when Deadline reported that Kaepernick and director Ava DuVernay were teaming up to create a limited Netflix original series called "Colin in Black & White," which would be a scripted drama focusing on the former athlete's life. "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," DuVernay said at the time. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming series, which looks like it will simply be the first step for Kaepernick in conquering media. 

What is the release date of Colin in Black & White?

In August, Netflix announced that "Colin in Black & White" will premiere on the streaming service on October 29, 2021 with six episodes (via Deadline). Kaepernick said in a statement that he had been working on the project "over the past couple of years." It looks like it made good progress, despite reports that the extremist neo-fascist group the Proud Boys planned to protest at the location where the project was filming. This caused extra security measures to be taken, per TMZ

Meanwhile, DuVernay said in July that the limited series wasn't going to stick to chronological standards of time. "It's a deeply collaborative process, not much different than the way that I approached working with the Exonerated Five on 'When They See Us.' We're working with a nonlinear format," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "You'll see it as not just a straight story, there's nonlinearity and genre-hopping within the piece. All of those conversations and the experimentation were something that we did together."

Who is in the cast of Colin in Black & White?

Young actor Jaden Michael stars as Kaepernick during his teenage years in "Colin in Black & White." About him, Kaepernick said, "I look forward to the world meeting the incredible Jaden Michael, a young actor who plays me during my high school years, just a kid growing up in Turlock, California who wanted to play ball." Kaepernick will narrate his own story.

Kaepernick's adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa, are played by Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker. Klarke Pipkin, Amarr, and Mace Coronel play fellow teens Crystal, Eddie, and Jake, respectively. Interestingly, the series is categorized as a "Teen TV Show" on Netflix, which shows the importance of those formative years to the "Colin in Black & White" narrative. It's also listed as a documentary even though it's a fictionalized drama.

What is the plot of Colin in Black & White?

Netflix's log line for "Colin in Black & White" says, "This drama series from Colin Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay explores Kaepernick's high school years and the experiences that led him to become an activist." However, putting together the story wasn't as simple as it appears. Jaden Michael told EW about his role, "A lot of stresses come with a project of this magnitude. These conversations need to be had. On the forefront of my mind was, do I want to attack these conversations, or do I want to sort of make an experience for everyone? I found that I think it's most important for people who don't agree with Colin to find a safe place to watch something interesting and informative where they can redo their research and try and understand Colin from a different perspective."

The show will focus on Kaepernick's childhood as the son of well-meaning white parents, tackling issues of race, class, and culture and featuring what Netflix's synopsis calls "historical and contemporary contextual moments." Naturally, it'll look at the athlete's road to the NFL — Kaepernick reportedly started getting interested in football at a pretty young age. By 11, at least, he'd written a letter to himself expressing a wish to be on the San Francisco 49ers. That dream came true for him. It's doubtful his football career went the way he thought it would, but fans will soon get a chance to see exactly what laid the groundwork for his other path as a social justice advocate and why he is where he is now.