After nearly 40 years, a new generation will be introduced to Roots in a whole new way.
Levar Burton who played the lead character Kunta Kinte in the 1977 original television mini-series based on Alex Haley’s book serves as an executive producer of the revitalized classic, and Burton and fellow executive producer Mark Wolper along with some of the mini series’ lead actors and actresses celebrated making Roots new while keeping with the themes of the original at a recent premiere in New York City.
At the premiere, the part one of four was screened, in which we are reintroduced to Kinte (played by Malachi Kirby) and his heritage and we follow his journey from warrior in training to his being captured and sold into slavery and his hardships he faced as a new slave in the US. Kirby captures the defiant and rebellious spirit of Kinte much like Burton did in the original. The horrors of slavery both mentally and physically are shown in graphic detail and some images may be unsuitable for younger audiences, but pulls viewers into the brutality that Africans sold into slavery and endured during the Middle Passage faced. Overall Roots believably shows the strength and courage that Africans who were enslaved possessed as well as never forgetting where they came from and keeping family values and a sense of “home” in their hearts.
While the original Roots mini-series aired over eight nights in 1977, the new version which is being presented by The History Channel and A&E will air over four consecutive nights beginning on Memorial Day. Anika Noni Rose, Laurence Fishburne, TI, Derek Luke and Forrest Whitaker are just a few notable actors who co-star in the series in various parts as main characters.