Will Packer’s remake of The Roots miniseries has caused both criticism and acclaim. Most critics ask why another slave movie? Why do we want to see Black people at their lowest point once again? Snoop Dogg even called for a boycott of the series . I’m here to say it’s necessary.
In no way can we move confidently into our futures without examining and understanding our past. In 2016 hate groups in America are on the rise. We are in the midst of a presidential election year where multiple candidates have expressed discrimination and disdain for religious, ethic and other groups. We are just a week away from the anniversary of a White extremist walking into a Black South Carolina church and killing parishioners just because they’re Black. It’s projected that in the next 50 years Whites may no longer be the majority in America. I believe now more than ever we could use “another slave movie.”
I remember seeing the original Roots over a decade ago as a child. My parents put in the VHS and as a family we watched what initially shocked me, but I ended up considering it a never ending snooze fest. Most millennials like myself share that story, we don’t remember the first Roots and we definitely were not provided with a vivid picture of slavery in America through our history classes. This series return is a teaching lesson. Black people in America cannot and will not move forward by ignoring our past.
There is triumph in the story of a slave. I’m a PROUD descendant of survivors and understanding what they went through reminds me that I can handle anything this world throws at me today. The history, perseverance and family values in the Roots remake amazed and inspired me. I applaud Will Packer and all of the production of the remake for taking a chance and succeeding. On the premiere date Roots snagged more than 8 million viewers.
Here’s a “keep it real moment” YES for about 24 hours after the series I side-eyed my White roommate, denied all the White men on my dating apps and grew angry thinking Wow Black people in America survived slavery and it’s aftermath just to still struggle with extreme racism, church shootings, police brutality and more decades later. After I calmed down I understood that the past caused a lot of the tension that still exists. I not only felt empowered by my ancestors’ truth, but I felt and understanding to Whites’ reaction to certain topics.
In all, I urge you to instead of regarding Roots as “another slave movie” think of it as another movie about pride, relentlessness and valor.