By now you have heard about Confederate, the ill-advised, wildly-panned before it has even aired, and heavily-denounced HBO show that is the brainchild of Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It is an alternate reality where slavery was never outlawed and still continues in the modern era.
They’ve admitted that it’s possible they could fuck up while making the show, but they want you to just give them a chance, and they are soldiering on with the idea despite the backlash it has received from the public and those in the entertainment business alike.
It’s not as though they have not created a good show before; many of us love Game of Thrones, and watch it faithfully each week while live-tweeting it with our friends. Game of Thrones is epically entertaining, but it is also almost exclusively white, and that’s fine, but when it is clear that portraying black characters may not be your strongest skillset, all we ask is that you stay in your lane.
Journalist ReBecca Theodore-Vachon expressed this very sentiment in a video she posted to her Twitter feed. “Y’all are good with dragons,” Theodore-Vachon said. “Y’all are good with magic. When it comes to black people ... no, I do not trust you.”
Now Theodore-Vachon, #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, screenwriter and filmmaker Lauren Warren, Shanelle Little, and Black Girl Nerds founder and managing editor Jamie Broadnax have formed a black woman Voltron and started the hashtag #NoConfederate to send a message to HBO and let them know how many people are against this show ever happening.
“The five of us came together and wanted to do something targeted about Confederate because we are concerned that there is going to be yet another show that monetizes the pain of black people, and we have truly had enough,” Reign told The Root.
“If HBO wants to do a show about the enslavement of black people, Underground exists, and it’s still looking for a home, and that is helmed by a black woman” Reign said. “HBO could actually pick up that show, and we would all support that.”
Reign points out that Benioff and Weiss realize the leverage they have with HBO because of the success of Game of Thrones. She believes they should leverage the power that they have to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.
“Just as I said with #OscarsSoWhite, it would be great if the two of them would open the door to traditionally underrepresented folks so that more stories can be told,” Reign said.
“Clearly they’re under the impression that whatever they brought to HBO was going to be greenlit, so why not provide opportunities for others?”
Reign notes that over the years, Game of Thrones has been openly criticized for its lack of characters of color and lack of diversity behind the camera as well.
“This would be a great opportunity for Benioff and Weiss to expand, to broaden their frame of reference,” she said.
The women are asking everyone to use the hashtag #NoConfederate from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern and again from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific to register their objection to the announced show.
“This is not a boycott of HBO, because HBO does some good work, including Insecure. HBO has also committed to doing the August Wilson cycle, with Denzel [Washington] at the helm,” Reign clarifies.
They are not calling for a cancellation of HBO subscriptions, nor are they calling for a boycott of Game of Thrones. The hashtag campaign is specific to the proposed show, Confederate.
“If you are live-tweeting Game of Thrones, or watching a game, or just talking about the weather, use #NoConfederate in your tweets so that HBO can see how many people are objecting to this proposed show,” Reign said.
Reign says this campaign is more intentional than #OscarsSoWhite.
“#OscarsSoWhite happened very organically. I was in my family room watching the nominations and there weren’t any people of color or marginalized communities, and I took to Twitter. It was a one-off,” Reign said.
“This is five black women saying we are going to intentionally create this hashtag and make it trend nationally, if not internationally, on a day and a time we say, because that is the power that we have with our platform.”
“What we are saying is that HBO has options,” she said. “We would love to see more traditionally underrepresented communities at the table when these decisions are made.”
“Had there been people of color in the room, someone could have said, ‘you know guys, I don’t think this is going to fly,’”
Use the hashtag #NoConfederate during both showings, east and west coast, of Game of Thrones on HBO.