Colin Kaepernick sat down with EBONY and discussed his upcoming projects, nonprofit work, the TV series based on his childhood, and his future with the NFL.
When speaking about his coming-to-age drama co-created by Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay, Kaepernick acknowledges that the show will impact audiences differently.
“When you look at Black and Brown folks, especially Black and Brown youth, the message is staying true to yourself, believing in yourself, having confidence in your identity, and not letting anybody take that from you…. I also think that as we look at broader society, part of what the show speaks to is how whiteness shows up…and how we engage with it…but also the pressures, the microaggressions, the racism, and what that shows up as,” he says. “I hope it’s an opportunity for white people to be able to look at their actions…how they show up in society and how they are engaging with Black and Brown folks…and look at their own privilege and perspective and be able to take away from this what actions they can take to improve the dynamics and the oppressive nature of systems and positions of power and privilege that they have.”
He also points out that his activism didn’t start with his kneeling during the national anthem back in 2016 but with the help of his longtime partner Nessa, who kickstarted the Know Your Rights Camp, a nonprofit that aims to help Black and Brown communities gain “legal knowledge on how to navigate police encounters and guidance on how to thrive in areas such as health and education.”
Kaepernick explained the inception of the program: “The discussion [that led to the founding of KYRC] happened shortly after the execution of Mario Woods,” who was killed in 2015 by five San Francisco police officers in broad daylight.
When asked about football, the former 49ers QB without hesitation said he will be back.
“Absolutely. I am still up at 5 a.m. training five, six days a week making sure I’m prepared to take a team to a Super Bowl again. That’s not something I will ever let go of, regardless of the actions of 32 teams and their partners to deny me employment. The same way I was persistent in high school is the same way I’m gonna be persistent here.”
He added: “And you’re gonna have to continue to deny me and do so in a public way. And you’re gonna expose yourself by that, but it won’t be because I’m not ready or not prepared. But in that process, I’m also not gonna let you bury my future. I’m gonna continue to do work on the acting and producing side, continue to do the work with Know Your Rights, and make sure we are having an impact. I think that’s the beauty of us collectively—we are not one-dimensional.”