News Brief

The Most Powerful Online Reactions to the 'Roots' Reboot Premiere

History Channel’s 'Roots' remake debuted, stirring a range of reactions from sadness, rage and pride similarly to its 1977 predecessor.

It’s been nearly four decades since the original Roots miniseries, based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, first aired on TV over eight nights to an audience of 130 million viewers, becoming a huge hit.


Not only did the series receive numerous accolades from Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody awards, it was historic as it confronted Americans with the brutality and lasting legacy of slavery on black Americans, and encouraged interracial dialogue.

Fast forward to Monday night when the Roots remake premiered on the History Channel, A&E and Lifetime, and it stoked a range of emotions from sadness, rage and pride in similar fashion as its predecessor. But this time around there’s social media for viewers to air their real-time reactions with hashtags #Roots, #KuntasKin, #BoycottRoots and #RootsSyllabus.

Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte; Photo by Steve Diet/ HISTORY

Although rapper Snoop Dogg was very vocal in an expletive-filled Instagram video posted Monday about his plans to boycott the four-night, eight hour scripted saga about Mandinka warrior Kunta Kinte’s capture and enslavement in America, arguing “Let's create our own shit based on today, how we live and how we inspire people today. Black is what's real. F— that old shit”— others were led by their curiosity to tune into the drama. It garnered an impressive 5.3 million viewers across all three networks — the biggest debut since The Bible miniseries in 2013,  according to The Hollywood Reporter.

And as actress Anika Noni Rose, who stars as Kunta Kinte’s daughter Kizzy in the Roots reimagining, explains to Okayafrica, “Roots should be told year-in and year-out...and it is painful. And we must get through the pain to get to the other side to find truth, knowledge, and healing. Hopefully, that is what this story will assist.”

Anika Noni Rose as Kizzy; Photo by Steve Diet/ HISTORY

Those who tuned in to watch the first episode—which introduced Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby), depicted his kidnapping from his home, in what is now Gambia, as well as his horrific Middle Passage voyage and brutal enslavement on a Virginia plantation—didn’t hold back from sharing their opinions of the more graphic reboot.

We rounded up some of the realest reactions:

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Omah Lay, Adekunle Gold, Falz and more.