Episode 1 of Colin in Black & White begins with some narration, showcasing the tryout period of the NFL. This single period of time signifies a power dynamic; a shift that Colin compares to the slave trade.
Before we reach the NFL though, we cut back in time to find a young and naïve Colin ready to confront the world. Born in Wisconsin, he grew up in California in a place with few black people around. However, one of those happens to be a girl called Dee Dee who helps sort him out some cornrows.
Now, this defiant act – defiant in the way Colin remains true to his heritage – raises eyebrows from his foster parents. The haircut is atually a tribute to a basketball player called AI, Allen Iverson.
Unfortunately, the cornrows don’t last, not least because they make Colin feel like his hair is on fire. It also has an adverse effect on his training too. So Teresa heads out to help him get it done professionally.
Instead of cornrows, he’s graced with braids, and the hairdresser, Erica, does right by Colin. She also introduces him to to a unique area full of black people, which helps Colin feel at home. It’s all a bit overwhelming for Teresa though.
Erica soon becomes a focal point of Colin’s world. He heads over to her place and immediately finds himself consumed in a different culture. Ludacris is on the TV, there’s different food on the plates and even the décor is different; it’s too much for Teresa.
In fact, it’s too much for Colin’s baseball coaches too, who contemplate dropping him from the team following his haircut. When Colin presses why, Teresa eventually blurts out that it’s because he looks like a thug. With little other choice, Colin decides to get his hair cut but unable to rebel, it takes him 14 years before getting braids again. This also sows the seeds of defiant rebellion we see play out on the field all those years later.
The Episode Review
Colin in Black & White is going to ruffle feathers. It’s one of those shows that’s going to divide opinion among the masses – especially those in America. However, this biographical drama does a good job dividing its attention between Colin’s story and world events occurring, helping to give this a sense of time and place.
There’s definitely an air of Wu Tang: An American Saga with the way this depicts the culture of black people in America, while at the same time manages to introduce us to Colin’s world and immediately empathize with his hardships from the very beginning on his career.
The idea of having Colin himself narrate the show is actually okay but he’s very clearly not an actor, what with his stoic and sometimes stiff reactions to what’s happening. However, this show is undeniably engaging and certainly worth a watch thus far.
Expect a full season write-up later this weekend!