Recent news of NBC’s forthcoming television series Buckhead certainly raised some brows after sources at The Hollywood Reporter described it “as a drama about ambition, sex and revenge set in the extravagant, high-stakes world of Atlanta politics, entertainment, churches and strip clubs”—an interesting combination no doubt.
There is certainly a concern among Buckhead residents that a show with the immense platform of NBC could tarnish our communities brand and reputation nationally if it veers into a fictional trashy story line that the description above portends. In order to understand the risks to our community of such a show, we have turned our attention to the man behind this hot topic: Atlanta-based producer Will Packer.
He’s covered the likes of Black Enterprise and Essence and was named one of Variety’s 10 Producers To Watch, but even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with his work. He’s produced numerous number one films over the course of his career, such as Stomp The Yard (2007), Obsessed (2008) and his most successful film yet, Ride Along, featuring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Some of his more recent achievements include the upcoming television series Truth Be Told and his role as executive producer of the film Straight Outta Compton, which earned $60.2M during opening weekend, the highest numbers of any musical biopic.
Not unlike many charitable celebs, Packer has repurposed his position of privilege into a platform for outreach and activism. Focusing primarily on the importance of education, Packer has served as an inspirational speaker at academic institutions, such as Harvard University, in addition to community organizations and youth groups nationwide. Earlier this year, Packer even made a visit to The White House, showing his support of President Barack Obama’s “Call to Arts” initiative and also attended the second annual White House Student Film Festival along with other noteworthy public figures such as actress Hillary Swank and director Steve McQueen.
That being said, we would encourage him to handle our valuable brand carefully. Buckhead is a community of individuals that is always moving forward in search of excellence and beauty and grace and vibrancy. Make your show about that, Mr. Packer, and we will all be fans.