Roots is coming back. Why?
I’m not sure why, but The History Channel has updated and reprised Alex Haley’s mini-series for 2016 with a fresh coating of realism. I have not seen it, nor do I intend to even give it a shot. However, if the trailer is any indication, fans of slave pieces are going to be chomping on popcorn for weeks, generations even! This one looks extra good. Just like 12 Years a Slave. Just like Underground. Just like the original Roots, when it debuted in the 1970’s. Riveting.
Now, we are all set to peddle to a new era of kids that they were chiefly slaves, maids, servants and only partially human (per systemic racism and so-called White Supremacy) when they arrived on these shore of the United States. It reminds us that our women were raped. Our men were emasculated. And our families were systemically destroyed through a variety of means. Awesome. This incarnation of 2016’s Roots has an all-star cast that includes rapper T.I., Mekhi Phifer, Anika Noni Rose, Forest Whitaker, and Laurence Fishburne, who pays author Alex Haley. My friends that have seen the beginnings of the series have said it was “exceptional” so I have no doubt that they have shoveled millions and millions into making this epic saga more epic. So the “why” boils down to remembering where we came from.
Certainly, we have to know our history, right? Sure, thing…but I have some other ideas that I have come to implement in my home. My daughter is not going out like that.
If we are going to study history, direct your texts to Mansa Musa. African King Musa is widely regarded at the richest person to have ever lived on Earth. He also happened to be a Black man from Africa. During his reign, Europe was starving and waging war against each other, but King Musa was rolling thousands deep, giving gold to the poor to the point where Europeans had his face on their maps. If he lived today, Mansa Musa would be worth about $400 billion. When he died, his son took over. I’m thinking The History Channel could craft a Game of Thrones-like series on the exploits of King Mansa Musa. Right?
No, the powers-that-be would rather beat us in the head with another “period piece.” I know I am not the only person that feels this way. Another friend took her daughter to see the new Roots and she had to leave early. Her daughter was essentially traumatized by what she saw. I theorize this is why I have rejected every such movie since watching 12 Years A Slave. I no longer wanted to internalize the horrors of that time, which bear a resemblance to what Black folks are going through. If having been completely desensitized, you’ll notice cops are still killing defenseless Blacks and incarcerated people of color are the new slaves.
Lastly, there is mental slavery.
I am just going to end this here. There is a very clear and present reason slavery continues to be thrown in our faces. It keeps you feeling low about who you are – defining you even when you don’t know. It distracts you and your kids from the rich history that exists and thrived in Mama Africa. This Euro-centric way has mad victims of us all in one way or another. And right here at home, they don’t create movies about Marcus Garvey, who commanded millions of followers towards complete self-reliance. They don’t make remakes about great kings like Shaka Zulu or warriors such as Hannibal. Nate Parker was inspired to independently create “Birth of a Nation” – the story of Nat Turner and a slave revolt – after turning down Quentin Tarantino’s filthy pulp “D’Jango.”
I’m not in support of these movies anymore. I’d sooner take my daughter to see Black Panther, a fictitious, rich super hero king.