Of Course HBO Greenlit “Confederate” Because White Guys Get Funding For Every Idea (Even Bad Ones) » VSB

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Of Course HBO Greenlit “Confederate” Because White Guys Get Funding For Every Idea (Even Bad Ones)

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Confederate — the upcoming HBO series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss that rewrites history to depict an America where the Confederate states successfully seceded — might actually end up being a good show. I don’t have much faith that it actually will be. This series is a re-imagining of America’s relationship with race, racism, slavery, class, and how each affects the micro, day-to-day minutiae of our existences, our national, cultural, and racial zeitgeists, and our existential understandings of what it means to be “White” and “Black” and “American.” These are canyonesque concepts for anyone to wrestle with — even those who’ve specifically devoted their social, political, professional, and academic lives to studying, examining, deconstructing, and making art about race. And there’s nothing in either Benioff’s or Weiss’s backgrounds or careers that suggests they’re equipped to do so. But, to (mis)quote Calvin Candie, a character from another big-budget re-imagining of slavery, they have my curiosity and my attention. And they might surprise me.

What hasn’t surprised me is that an idea this ambitious from two people who don’t seem to have any real experience with the nuanced and explosive subject matter is getting greenlighted. Because these two people are White men. And White men get their ambitious, insane, reckless, and inane ideas funded all of the fucking time. They get money for TV shows and movies no one will watch. Investments in start-ups no one asked for. Funding for apps no one will use. Loans for restaurants no one will eat at. Grants for condominium complexes no one will live in. Capital for websites no one will visit. Deals for books no one will read.

Bari Williams examined this phenomenon a couple months ago.

Women start companies at twice the rate of men, yet women comprise only 16% of tech founders According to a study by First Round Capital, founding teams including a woman outperform their all-male peers by 63%, but female CEOs get only 2.7% of all venture funding, while women of color get virtually none: 0.2%.

The fact that black women are educated and entrepreneurial yet so underfunded is a confluence of broadening thoughts of diversity, use of technology, and economic policy. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 increased limits for tax write-offs for startups, such as the ability to deduct cell phone bills and depreciation, and health care costs. This was great news for black women, who tend to be younger when they found their companies, have more debt, and less access to capital. Black women have greater difficulty receiving funding from investors and creditors, and difficulty securing lending due to racial bias.

But tax write-offs don’t make up for the funding gap. When black women are funded, they get the short end of the stick, with the average raise round totaling just $36,000. Compare that figure to the composite of the average white male startup founder, who banks an average of $1.3 million in funding. The secondary problem with not receiving mainstream large VC funding? Scaling.

While the focus here is Black women in tech, this standard transcends fields. It exists in media and entertainment. In real estate and academia. In for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations. Forget about getting into the door. We — and “we” in this context is “anyone who isn’t a White male” — need to produce all types of evidence and receipts and successes in order to just get an email reply. While White men are allowed to fail. Repeatedly. And given more leeway to dream up new and random-ass shit because they know if they keep getting shots at the dartboard, they’ll eventually hit the target. Which results in a self-fulfilling circle jerk where White dudes get the money because investors trust them more than anyone else because White dudes’ successes are more spectacular because White dudes get more chances to be spectacular because White dudes get the money because investors trust them more than anyone else.

Still, maybe Confederate will surprise us. Who knows? But I do know that if it crashes and burns, Benioff and Weiss will get another chance. And another chance after that chance. And another chance after that chance. And another…

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Lucille A Bluth

    *Underground can’t get funding to continue on another network*

    wytppl: “Let’s start a new show about the Confederacy.”
    Execs: “Mother of God, that’s a brilliant idea!”

    • Kenton Campbell

      Execs : ” Man could you JUST IMAGI- oh there’s more ? because we already pay pal’d all our money to your Accts. All . Of . It.

    • BrownKitty289

      Execs: Let’s just hire everybody from Underground! Its a WIN WIN!!!

  • Ebenezer Wilkes Smith

    Also, this has already been done:


    • Pill Bug

      That was very different. This is an alternate history. That was a muckumentary with cynical humorous undertones.

      • Hsquared

        What these guys are proposing isn’t alternate history?

  • clownFace Prod.

    This will be tired dialogue between rape and torture scenes. I hate thinking of how women actually so often have to agree to do nudity to get parts, and now I hate to think about how black actresses, will not only have to do nudity, but will have to settle for playing slaves again. Can we get Black women on mainstream TV without them being the slave, prostitute, the secretary, the nurse, the crackhead mom in the first ten minutes of any Law and Order episode, etc.

    • miss t-lee


    • Queen@

      Have you missed the whole Shonda Rhimes series…

      And I’m just wondering how nurse got thrown into that equation?

      • clownFace Prod.

        Black women are often the nurse in media, or the receptionist at the desk the cops talk to while looking for the patient or the doctor. And yes, HTGAWM is one of my favorite shows but Scandal is ending and then how many are left?

      • Brother Mouzone

        Shonda Rhimes? Don’t get me started on her.

    • Classic


    • Brother Mouzone

      Or the… don’t say it..bed —-

    • Brother Mouzone

      Halle and Stacey are already on the casting couch…among many others of like mind.

      • JD_Challenger

        Halle did one role (among many dynamic, dominant roles) giving Billy Bob Thornton the business and she can’t live it down among the righteous folk smh

        • Brother Mouzone


          • JD_Challenger

            All your wisdom should be that brief.

            • Brother Mouzone


  • Sigma_Since 93

    This feels like they all watched the Dave Chapelle pitching skit and said eff it why not.

  • Pill Bug

    Considering the amount of money they made of course they get greened.

    I’m curious what you think someone who has the “nuanced” view you desire would be like? Black? Intersectional (of course). Writes clickbait about privilege? AWwwwww yeah!

    • clownFace Prod.

      For fuck’s sake, read. The money was addressed.

      • Hsquared

        This person isn’t here for an honest interaction on the subject. Don’t waste your time.

      • Guest

        Wait, where was the money they made HBO addressed? Not trying to troll, but I honestly must have missed it.

        These two “white dudes” took a relatively obscure cult classic book, and turned it into literally one of the most successful and critically acclaimed tv shows of all time… So yeah, I would assume that even if were pitching a show based on the $h!t emoji ?, they would probably get plenty of call backs and meetings

        • clownFace Prod.

          Why not go back and read and comprehend the part about money for yourself? I just mentioned in another post how the information is out there but ignored and this is an example.

  • Cleojonz

    BOOOOOO!!! That’s all I got.

  • HouseOfBonnets
    • MsSula

      Evelyn from the Internets is bae.

  • Queen@

    Let me say this upfront, Underground still needs a fucking home.

    but here is the thing….

    So many white people act like they don’t know, care to know, understand, or even care to understand why slavery actually was and was not. This show could resurface the horrendous plight of black people in this country.

    The people who scream “Confederacy” as a heritage will get to see their gruesome heritage played out on mainstream. Will it change minds and shift perceptions like history books (because people don’t read), perhaps? Will the first season be centered around white trash, to bring them in, but is nuanced (because of the black collaboration) to make them thinks…. d@mn? Perhaps. Can there be an intersection of where Underground left off in this series? Perhaps.

    I’m hopeful because this idea seems to have spawned off the success and interest of Underground. And because Thrones is so nuanced and well done.

    Yeah, and Underground still needs a fucking home.

    • clownFace Prod.

      It won’t help anything. The views Whites have about Black people are because they WANT to have them. They do NOT want to be educated about Black pain. There’s more than enough information out there to seek out for them if they really want their minds changed, but they don’t.

      • Queen@

        You are right. It won’t change the masses, but it may enlighten some. People, unfortunately, need entertainment. Underground woke up so many people… black people. Especially the “I couldn’t have been a slave. I’d die before I pick cotton.” folks. The underlying emotions about the black man emotions from not being able to protect his family…. the many talents of black people beyond picking cotton.

        One can be hopeful, no?

        • clownFace Prod.

          I honestly have no hope left. Especially after seeing Trump supporters actually double down on his nonsense instead of seeing it for the cartoon villainy it is.

      • Brown Rose

        Exactly right. Blacks have given whites and others literally centuries of examples in every possible media. They don’t care.

      • Wendy

        Sadly, I have to agree. White people don’t want to engage with anything harder than “slavery was bad” (and don’t even try to point out that slavery still exists in the U.S. (referring to prison)). Anything beyond that forces us to recognize not only our own privilege, but our own COMPLICITY.

      • muzan-e

        Exactly this.

        I couldn’t articulate it well at all. It is exactly as you’ve said. “Look at how these people have suffered” is irrelevant to a certain mindset.

      • Brother Mouzone

        You ain’t NEVA lied

    • Cheri Chateau D’If Chatman

      I’m legit wondering how deep/gritty this will be…I mean the focus prob wont center on US per se…its gonna most likely focus on the “struggles”, stress and strain of the victors. You know – rivals sabotaging the harvest, betrayals via bad business deals, extortion and espionage amongst the “businesses”. Plenty of room for those plot lines set in a setting where slavery didnt end.

      BUT – If slavery was not abolished does that mean the North “reluctantly” embraces it? Does that mean Europe is no longer an ally? Does that mean South America is also complicit & bends to our will? Will slavery be shown as 12YAS and Sankofa or sanitized like the TX school books? Will blacks have speaking roles or just elements of the background – like CGI creations?

      No matter what – I bet my whole 401k that these 2 things come to pass: Folks posting on the fan boards that “kneegroes should be hella thankful that the South didnt win and should stop all the protesting and complaining”… and ” What about the Irish slaves”.

      • Queen@

        That last line is everything.

        “See we ain’t that bad….anymore.”
        “Look how far we’ve come.”


      • Classic

        The Irish slaves people are exhausting.

  • Darkchloe144

    This is a bad idea. But I don’t have or need HBO so why should I give a quarter of a dam anyway? Great post as usual, tho, Daymoan.

  • I just won’t watch this for the same and different reason as I did with Underground. I just don’t need weekly slavery updates.

    • Darkchloe144

      I honestly can’t deal with that subject in tv, movies, books, etc anymore.

      Quite a few works that are on slavery are important and should be seen/read at least once. But I really crave modern stories with black people and black issues, at least from 90s on up, at this point.

      • The subject didn’t bother me until it started to seem as if every black product focused on that.

        • Darkchloe144

          Exactly. (My age is showing, maybe I should say 80s on up, lol)

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