Underground/WGN

"We are asked to believe in a time when dragons exist, but there are no people of color with significant roles."

Social media has allowed us to ask for what we want, repeatedly. It's no secret that when fans are excited, upset or want more from Hollywood they speak up online. April Reign's entire #OscarSoWhite movement was a testament to this, resulting in a massive re-evaluation on how the Academy Award votes and recognizes talent of color. 

Her latest fight is against the powers-that-be at HBO who plan to make a sci-fi, alternative-history drama called Confederate. To the average woke Black person, this is obviously problematic. And Reign, knowing the power of numbers, did something about it.

"The goal of the #NoConfederate campaign is to show HBO the power of those on social media who are vehemently against #Confederate," Reign told ESSENCE about the boycott started by her and four other women.

"This is a targeted campaign: We made a hashtag trend intentionally on a date and time that we set. We are five Black women who lift a unified voice against #Confederate and encourage our platforms to do the same. We would like HBO to cancel #Confederate and instead uplift more marginalized voices with a different series."


Trending No.1 nationwide and No. 2 worldwide on Twitter, the show's executive producers came out to say the show would not be as bad as it sounds.

"This is not a world in which the entire country is enslaved," Malcolm Spellman told The Hollywood Reporter. "Slavery is in one half of the country. And the North is the North. The imagery should be no whips and no plantations."

When reached out to by ESSENCE for a comment, the show's only Black woman executive producer Nichelle Tramble Spellman did not respond. But Reign has plenty of thoughts on what else the network can focus on.

"If HBO is truly interested in another show about enslavement, Underground, which used to be on WGN, would be a great addition to the network that we would readily support."

Adding, "Benoiff and Weiss' current show, Game of Thrones, has received sustained criticism not only for its gratuitous depiction of rape, but also the lack of diversity both with respect to actors and actresses, and those who work behind the camera. It is unfathomable that we are asked to believe in a time when dragons exist, but there are no people of color with significant roles." 

"Because Benoiff and Weiss have not adequately addressed issues of race and the subjugation of women in over six years, I have no confidence that they would be able to do so with Confederate."