Almost 40 years ago, the Roots mini-series became the most watched program in television history at the time. The in-depth look at the generational effects slavery had on all involved parties was eye-opening for millions.
The History Channel recently announced a remake that will premiere on May 30th as part of a four-night event. John Amos recently sat down with Huffington Post to talk about how Roots impacted his life after playing an adult Kunta Kinte and shared his thoughts on the remake.
“I learned so many things as a result of ‘Roots.’ I think the main thing that I felt and the biggest impression made on me was the effect that it had on the entire population, regardless of people’s ethnic background,” Amos said. “‘Roots’ was something that a lot of people didn’t really know the story or the idea of slavery and the ramifications that slavery provided on a global basis. I don’t think people really knew that until ‘Roots’ was developed and shown on television.”
Amos then gave his honest opinion about how the remake to the classic mini-series may not have as large of an impact as the original by citing multiple reasons.
“I guess it will be contingent upon how well it’s done, but I don’t think it’s gonna have the same impact for a number of reasons,” he said. “One, the circumstances that ‘Roots’ was originally shown under was totally different circumstances than today. Today there seems to be tremendously more programming that has black subject matter and black characters, both on the screen and behind the scenes, than it existed with the development of the original. So much time has passed. I think there’s a great deal of apathy about the subject matter. I don’t think people are quite as interested. We had so many things going for us that made it such a unique and popular experience. One, the subject matter never [had] been delved into before. Two, it was derived from an international best seller… so there were a number of things that led ‘Roots’ to being the incredibly popular program it was.”
But most importantly, he mentioned how the production of the remake in the first place serves as “further evidence, for the most part, that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. They have to keep going back to what’s been done and what’s successful because they’re pretty much out of fresh ideas.”
The ruling’s still out on the Roots remake, and likely will be until the world gets to see it at the end of the month. But the mixed reviews coming out from those involved with its predecessor may spark a curiosity in the people to find out more for themselves.
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