History channel’s remake of Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, “Roots,” has created controversy with public approval and disapproval. “Roots,” which originally ran between January 23-30, 1977, emphasizes the importance of a time that must not be present again. History has aired a remake of “Roots” aired on Memorial Day lasting until June 2nd.
The controversy of the “Roots” remake comes from not all of its viewers agreeing with the concept of the remake. California rapper and innovator, Snoop Dogg, vented about his refusal to watch the “Roots” remake because he believes there should be stories telling an opposite view of African-American culture. Society, instead of viewing or telling the oppression of African-American culture, should embrace and celebrate the inspiration and life of their culture. African-American culture has generated an omnipotent influence in all forms of society through media and entertainment, science and religion, and countless other forms of perseverance-past, present, and future. While the same can be said about many cultures, many stories regarding the oppression of enslaved African-Americans are still told from different perspectives.
What also makes the “Roots” remake a global controversy is the vast difference of opinion one might share of the true story. While Snoop Dogg’s point of view is strong, it also counteracts with those who defend the remake of “Roots.” Stephane Dunn, of “The Atlantic”, writes that “Roots stands on sacred ground as the most in-depth, widely thought-provoking, and accomplished dramatic work of its kind.” She goes on to write that the new generation and older generation can encounter and develop a new knowledge from the production because of the new light it sheds during the time of slavery in America.
Overall, the remake of “Roots” and its surrounding controversy presents viewers with a powerful adaptation of love, loss, survival, and courage. It is a story that encompasses the struggle of real human nature, the depth of the human spirit, and engages the pain of oppression. Though the story shares Kunta Kinte as a slave and his ascension to freedom, that’s not all there is to his story. African-American culture did not derive from slavery, but instead diverted from it into a beautiful foundation of American history. Kunta Kinte’s story is a story all of its worldwide viewers can now re-open and re-establish the horrendous altitude those enslaved once faced so that society may break those bonds now and forever free.
Before Kunta Kinte was captured, he had to learn how to mount a wild horse. The horse would buck those who feared and thought only about themselves, instead of the horse. Kunta Kinte was able to mount the horse because of the warrior bond he shared with that horse, making him not a slave.
Slavery is a global oppression even present today through sex trafficking, children slavery, and quiet slavery. What each form of slavery has in common is quiet slavery. Not everyone is aware of what happens to an individual behind closed doors while that individual is being discriminated against or even held captive.
Worldwide viewers should not only turn away as if “Roots” was just another special program. Worldwide viewers should remain aware the sanctity of every race, color, or religion, because whether it seems redundant or not, the issue still stands within all of us: those who hate conditionally are the oppressed, and those who love unconditionally are free.
News Opinion by Andrea Lopez
Edited by DiMarkco Chandler
The Atlantic: Why the Roots Remake Is So Important
USA TODAY: Snoop Dogg rails against ‘Roots’ in expletive-filled video
Vox: Why remake Roots? Because 40 years later, the story is still urgent.
Image Courtesy of heystrobelight’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License