I watched the 1977 version of Roots during its originally showing, having read Alex Haley’s “autobiography” beforehand. I was 16 years old when the original came out.
Viewing the series was a family gathering in my home, as was so for many black families, I’m told. It was a celebration of sorts. I don’t remember much about the viewing except for one thing: during the scene in which Kunta Kinte is captured, everyone in my house became dead quiet.
LeVar Burton, most widely known for his portrayal of Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, had his first professional acting job in the original Roots as the young Kunta Kinte. For the 2016 version of Roots, Burton is the executive producer.
I mention this because I’ve always liked Burton and if I were going to watch the more recent version of Roots, his role in it would be the only reason to do so. As it turns out, it isn’t reason enough.
Call it fatigue at the continual opening of an old wound. Western slavery ended in a very bloody fashion in the 1860s. I’m over it. What I’m not over is the centuries-long enslavement of black Africans and the trashing of their continent by Islamic entities ranging from the Ottoman Empire to 2016’s Boko Haram. When will that movie get made? My guess is that, if it isn’t a self-/fan-funded venture, never.
There is also the fact that many black Africans played an exclusive role in selling members of other tribes to Europeans and to Americans. Those black African salesmen were usually Islamic.
And, oh yes: I see no point in celebrating Haley’s real legacy.
Hey, Hollywood! How about a movie about Trans-Saharan slavery instead of a remake based on a plagiary? https://t.co/kyvCJ4zQ7R
— Juliette A. Ochieng (@JulietteAkinyi) May 25, 2016
I’ve said before that God sometimes takes the folly of man and uses it to bless others. I think that this is the case with American slavery. For those who wished that their ancestors had remained in Islam-ravished western Africa, I suggest you repent, turn to God and open your eyes to the blessings He has put in front of all of us…and stop crying about the long-dead treachery from those who look like you, and those who don’t.
And if slavery really bothers you that much, there are plenty of organizations who combat 2016 slavery. You should help them or, at “least,” pray for them.
Now, excuse me while I go watch some sci-fi. There’s a reason I like it so much. With this post in mind, see if you can guess what it is.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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