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:

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(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

A New Documentary Explores French Fashion Designer’s African Roots

The African origins of Olivier Rousteing, creative head of Balmain, are revealed in a new film and article.

The last few days have been a very public emotional rollercoaster for Olivier Rousteing, 34, the visionary creative mind behind French high fashion brand, Balmain. The New York Times published an article earlier this week unveiling the content of the forthcoming documentary about his life, Wonder Boy.

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Photo by Ugo Onwuzurike. Model: K.O. Asante. Creative Director: Obiora Anonzie.

First Look: Marvel & MIZIZI Present Their Highly Anticipated 'Black Panther'-Inspired Baseball Jersey

The African streetwear brand responds to fan demand with an exclusive jersey in collaboration with Marvel.

Wakanda continues to endure forever with this new baseball jersey by African streetwear brand, MIZIZI.

In collaboration with Marvel, MIZIZI is set to release an exclusive Black Panther-inspired baseball jersey due to fan demand.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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