The teenage years of former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick are the subject of a new Netflix series. According to Newsweek, all six 30-minute episodes of Colin in Black and White were made available for viewing on October 29.
NPR said the series followed Kaepernick’s exposure to racism growing up in Turlock, California, where his white Christian adoptive parents had settled after moving from Wisconsin.
Despite their good intentions, his parents had been taken aback by his desire to identify as a Black person. The series showed his mother at first going to great lengths to help him get his hair done in cornrows only to say later that the hairstyle made him look like a criminal, NPR added.
Newsweek noted that the series had been co-produced by Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay, known for her films Now They See Us and Selma. The Guardian said the athlete was also the narrator of the series.
The paper said he often appeared on screen and expressed his criticism of American racism, leaving no room for mistake. In the second episode, the Guardian mentioned one scene where the athlete looked directly at the audience and said, “Some will say the system is broken. I’m here to tell you it was intentionally built that way.”
In his review of the series for NPR, Eric Deggans said Kaepernick’s performance was sometimes emotionally powerful but “other times stilted and a little heavy-handed.” It seemed like the athlete was getting back at everyone who had stood in his way, Deggans said.
The Guardian’s review gave the series four out of five stars. Reviewer Lucy Mangan said it was “a bold creation.” She noted that the series had combined commentary by Kaepernick with dramatic reenactments of events from his life. “It takes your breath away,” she wrote.
Kelly Lawler reviewed the series for USA Today.
On Twitter, she said, “It’s part memoir, part documentary, part ted talk, and I don’t think anyone else could have pulled it off.”
I reviewed Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick’s new Netflix series #ColininBlackandWhite. It’s part memoir, part documentary, part ted talk and I don’t think anyone else could have pulled it off. https://t.co/afvZ2wsPcc
In a report on the Netflix series, the Turlock Journal noted that Kaepernick had been popular in the town immediately after joining the San Francisco 49ers.
Replicas of his jersey had been displayed in restaurants, and one eatery had even named a dish after him, the paper said. The athlete had received the key to the city in 2014, the paper recalled.
Although signs of homage had dwindled in recent years, the paper noted that some people were striving to remind the city of Kaepernick’s achievements. A petition drive had recently been launched to have a local mural created in honor of the athlete, the Turlock Journal said.