Many, especially those who lived during the 1970s, have been waiting for this night for ages. And this time, you did not necessarily need to have the tape recorder rolling to see all of it. Roots is back.
The popular miniseries that revolutionized the way slavery was portrayed on television in the late ’70s, Roots, was remade for the History Channel and aired at 9pm tonight. Unfortunately, not everyone in this country is thrilled about the return. Famed rapper and name-changer Snoop Dogg released a video on his Instagram earlier today urging Americans to blacklist the reboot, Deadline reports.
In his clip, which Snoop Dogg queued up to publish the exact moment Roots began rolling on television, he calls out the audacity of the popular repetition of slavery themes and blackness. He says that he doesn’t understand America because of this.
“They just want to keep showing the abuse that we took hundreds and hundreds of years ago,” says the rapper.
The abuse Snoop refers to is abundant in the emotional tale told by Roots, both in the original and the reboot, which of course follow the same plot-line. The story trails Gambian-originated slave Kinta Kunte as he and his family struggle through the perils of forced captivity and ultimately survive. It’s a raw display of humanity’s brutality and resilience simultaneously at a time of true barbarian oppression, and the makers and actors behind the show believe it is a story that now, just as much so as ever, needs to be retold.
“I think this country is going through a major upheaval. I think that it’s really important for people to recognize where we’ve come as a country, how far we’ve come, and yet how far we have to go,” says Anika Noni Rose, who plays Kizzy in the reboot, Variety reports.
The actress continued, “But when you look at this story, you see what people went through just simply for the right to vote, to be treated as human beings. When you look at what’s happening in the streets with specifically black youth and the police, this story is so relevant and so important. And it’s not just important from the lens of “Roots.” It’s important from so many different sides.”
She concluded, “There’s so many stories to tell about these people who weren’t just enslaved people, they were people who were free, they were people who broke free, they were people who did amazing things under the yoke of slavery. I think that now is an amazing time to talk about these things, because young people, I don’t think that they know.”
To Snoop Dogg, however, this historical reminder is not the kind he wants to be seeing. Or, rather, he’s just seen too much of it already.
“They’re going to just keep beating that s*** into our heads of how they did us, huh?” says the rapper, calling out 12 Years a Slave specifically, the Oscar-winning movie from two years past that, like many of its golden-trophy-garnering predecessors, featured black actors entirely in the roles of slaves.
Snoop Dogg’s video, which was thick to the gills with f-words and the like, has already accumulated over 80,000 views on Instagram. The rapper continues to ask when show-makers will create series featuring the successes of black people rather than repeating slavery stories over again, shows like Empire.
Overall, despite the merit Rose argues the Roots remake has, it will be interesting to see how many follow Snoop Dogg’s call for a boycott. But then again, maybe the praise the reboot has already received will sway potential viewers one way over another.