Rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg took a hard shot at The History Channel’s remake of “Roots” this week, essentially urging black people to boycott the series because he’s “sick of” seeing tales of slavery that show misery and oppression, and urged them to “create our own shit based on today, how we live and how we inspire people today.”
On Wednesday morning’s News One Now, host and award-winning journalist Roland Martin took Snoop deep over his comments, throwing a dizzying flurry of shots at Snoop for everything from Soul Plane to his numerous pornography producer credits, while also making the point that there isn’t exactly a glut of slavery movies, especially as compared to Holocaust films. He concluded the rant with a challenge for the hip-hop icon:
Why don’t you stop smoking weed, and actually bother to call Will Packer or Ava DuVernay, or call Spike Lee or the countless African Americans who are out there who are trying to make those films, and are looking for folks like you who are gon’ put their money where their mouth is, as opposed to the money on some good weed. All I’m saying is this: we need all stories being told, and if more Americans can own up to the history of America, 397 years that we’ve been here, and how brutal slavery was, we should see that. Because just like Jews say, never forget. Snoop, we will never forget, so now, the ball is in your court. Let’s see what you gon’ do. Fo shizzle, my nizzle.
Roland makes a lot of excellent points, and judging by the first two episodes, “Roots” is a superbly-acted and shot drama that crackles with a defiance that overshadows the original. However, while I can’t speak to Snoop’s specific critique, there is something contextually disconcerting about the miniseries. It’s jarring to watch a story like that on a white-centric network like The History Channel, no more so than when reading the descriptive blurb for episode two, which (spoiler alert) describes the barter of Kunta Kinte and Henry/Fiddler to their master’s brother this way: “a doctor takes him in.”
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