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Maverick TV adapts Bryant’s Heritage

All3Media-owned Maverick TV in the US is adapting a book about political activism among African American athletes as a multi-part documentary series.

Tim Pastore

Howard Bryant’s book The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism will form the basis of the show, which will be titled The Heritage.

It has been optioned and developed by All3Media-owned IDTV and will be produced in partnership by All3Media America’s Maverick TV and filmmaker and executive producer Sacha Jenkins’ (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics & Men, Burn Motherf*cker Burn) prodco Mass Appeal.

Jenkins will direct an episode of the series, with each subsequent episode helmed by a different African American filmmaker to provide a unique and personal perspective to the story, the producers said.

The docuseries will look at activism among African American athletes across several decades, from 1950s and 60s icons like Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, whose actions created a “heritage” of black athletic political engagement, to those players in the 1980s who rejected it.

It will chronicle the turbulent relationship between police and the African American community over the last 10 years that revived a political responsibility embraced by players ranging from basketball stars Maya Moore and Carmelo Anthony to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The Heritage will also articulate the role of patriotism and the military in the selling of sports.

“Howard Bryant’s book is an impressive and compelling must-read for anyone looking to better understand the current climate in America. Through the invaluable lens and creative force of Sacha Jenkins, we are extremely proud to share these stories globally,” said All3Media America CEO Tim Pastore.

Alongside Jenkins, other executive producers on the series include Peter Bittenbender, Melody Shafir and Pastore.

“We always talk about sports as the place to get away from our problems, so we treat it as fantasy land – but sports always seem to find a way to reflect our reality,” said author and journalist Bryant.

“Whether it’s protest or patriotism, or a billion-dollar college sports industry fuelled by black bodies that’s become less interested in educating black minds, sports have always reflected more than the final score. These issues feel more urgent than ever, and creating this series provides a new platform for these voices crucial to our understanding of who we are as a culture – and where we’re going.”

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