Promotional image for Noughts + Crosses

Trailer for Peacock’s Noughts + Crosses Adaptation Is … Something

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Peacock is doing another dystopian adaptation, this time of the young Malorie Blackman’s YA series Noughts & Crosses, which explores the concept of what would have happened if Europe had been colonized by African tribes instead.

I’ve heard of these books for years and been told that I should check them out, but despite them being written by a Black British woman of Caribbean ancestry, the entire concept just seems very … ehhh. The trailer does not help much, mostly because it looks like a lot of PanAfrican aesthetic, but it seriously lacks specificity. I get the concept, and maybe it’s better in the books, but it just feels off.

“In this world, Africa — or ‘Aprica’ — invaded Europe centuries ago, enslaving its people. In present-day London, ‘Albion,’ slavery is an institution of the past, but Jim Crow-esque segregation laws maintain the power dynamic,” is the show’s official description, according to SyFy Wire. Noughts are white people, and Crosses are Black people.

I am aware the series was very popular in the U.K. and won several book awards for children’s series. I can certainly see why, especially in the world we are in now, the publishers want to adapt it into a series, but in just looking at the trailer, I find myself asking questions—mainly how the show will define “Africa.”

The issue with trying to just copy and paste one history onto another is that it oversimplifies why some places expand to colonize others and why some don’t. Africa is not one place; it is a continent, and the countries we see that make it up now are based on lines made up during colonization. Which tribes led this expansion? Was there a unification of multiple tribes to create a nation before? How did religion play into it?

Hopefully, the series will handle these issues with some tact. People have nothing but time on their hands, so if this series doesn’t come correct, it will be dragged to filth. It already aired on BBC iPlayer, but for those of us in the states wanting to check it out, the six-part series will air via Peacock in the U.S. on September 4.

(via SyFy, image: BBC/Peacock)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.