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Questlove Shares Details On 'Roots' TV Miniseries Remake

Questlove reveals that he wrote the theme song and is working on the score for the upcoming 'Roots' TV miniseries remake.


In July, the A+E Networks announced their remake of Roots, the 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley‘s multigenerational portrait of American slavery. Back then, it was confirmed that Questlove would be joining the team as the show's executive music producer to “create the authentic African sound and themes for the characters as well as produce the overall sound as the music progresses each night.”

As Okayplayer points out, Questlove recently spoke with Ebony in an interview in which he revealed more details about the music of the upcoming Roots miniseries. “Right now I’m doing the score. I wrote the theme," he tells Ebony. "The main score of Alex Haley’s Roots re-do is called ‘Binta’s Theme.’ Basically, they’re having this recurring motif that will somehow travel through all eras of this movie. So it starts with Kunta Kinte’s grandmother in Africa singing this to herself in the fields. And somehow this haunting melody will find its way into the psyche of whatever character."

“So I mean, it could be Kunta on the plantation in a church and he hears something like, ‘oh damn, that reminds me of that song my grandmom used to sing,’ ” he adds. “And then Chicken George and Kizzy will hear that: ‘oh man, this is what Kunta used to sing in the church.’ And there’ll be a juke joint. And then Alex Haley will hear it: ‘sounds just like the song my aunt Kizzy used to…’ And then Alex Haley’s grandchildren will be at the EDM club [laughter].”

The Roots remake will air across History, A&E and Lifetime in 2016 as a 4-night, 8-hour event and already has the likes of Laurence Fishburne (Alex Haley), Forest Whitaker (Fiddler), and more on board.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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