Roots: A Necessary Re-Imagining?

Pop Culture Uncovered

I have to admit that I reluctantly agreed to watch the re-imagined Roots series. Over the course of the last few years it seems that the “slave narrative” is one of only a handful of ways that the media is comfortable depicting African Americans. After Django Unchained, Belle, Twelve Years A Slave, and the current TV series Underground, it’s hard to imagine that there are any new insights that another Roots mini-series could bring. But into this crowded genre we now have a new four-night, eight-hour miniseries.

The 2016 miniseries distinguishes itself from the original in the efforts it makes to explore Mandinka culture and the life of Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) prior to his enslavement. The first hour of the miniseries focuses on Kunta’s path through the Mandinka rights of manhood, his thoughts on leaving Juffureh to study at Timbuktu, and his desire to marry…

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