The re-imagining of seminal 1977 miniseries Roots begins tonight in the U.S., airing over four consecutive nights and simulcast on History and fellow A+E Networks channels A&E and Lifetime. One person who won’t be watching is rapper and sometime actor Snoop Dogg. In an Instagram video timed to coincide with the Memorial Day debut, he says he doesn’t understand America, “They just want to keep showing the abuse that we took hundreds and hundreds of years ago.” Deadline has reached out to History for comment.
Based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, the new Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery that recounts the journey of one family and its will to survive and ultimately carry on a legacy despite intense hardship. Two episodes of the series world premiered at the Mip-TV conference in early April with co-executive producer LeVar Burton, who starred in 1977 as the Gambian youth Kunta Kinte, in attendance. It has since garnered strongly positive reviews.
Snoop Dogg’s expletive-laden video has about 72K views on Instagram with mixed responses. He says he means “no disrespect,” but can’t abide any more “black movies” like 12 Years A Slave, Roots or Underground. “They’re going to just keep beating that s*** into our heads of how they did us, huh?”
“Well guess what. We’re taking the same abuse… When are you all going to make a m************ series about the success that black folks is having?” He advises the likeminded to “create our own s*** based on today, how we live and how we inspire people today. Black is what’s real.”
The current Roots is executive produced by Mark Wolper — son of the original’s David L Wolper. The 1977 finale remains the most-watched U.S. TV event ever with a 51 rating and a 71 share.
Deadline’s review recently noted that this is a very different era in both the TV landscape and in the culture and, while A+E Networks is certainly hoping for big ratings, the $50M, eight-hour Roots is about more than numbers: “In this era of the Black Lives Matter movement, the prison industrial complex and the last year of the administration of the nation’s first African-American president, the ambitious epic is a profoundly powerful story that has new resonance for our times.”