As I kid I can remember watching the original Roots on several occasions. I don't remember if my mother forced us to watch it or if we just happened to be in the room while all the other adults were watching. Nonetheless, I have seen the entire series including the mini-series that proceeded, Queen over and over again. History Channel premiered Roots on Memorial Day and will proceed for the following 4 nights. For those whom have never seen it, Roots is a historical account of American slavery depicting the journey of one family and their will to survive and carry on their legacy in the face of adversity.
Now that the History channel has debuted this new version of Roots there are numerous folks complaining about "yet another slave movie". And I get it. However, this has come at such a perfect time. As my mom and I sat watching Part 2 last night, it became so real to us all over again. There were times I had to look away. I mean, I knew Kunta Kinte's foot was going to get cut off but I squirmed throughout that entire scene. "Young people need to see this," mom yelled. I absolutely agree. Everyone; young, old, white, nonwhite or whatever you want to call yourself should be watching this. Why? Because it is OUR history. I know watching these types of things are hard to view, extremely hard to sit through knowing that these accounts are not fictional.
Roots offers the opportunity for new audiences to experience Alex Haley's family saga. It is extremely inspirational and informational. Yes, it is another slave movie/series but I would go so far to say that people don't want to watch it because it makes them uncomfortable. The fact remains, this happened and if you watch closely you will be able to see and decipher how this is still happening in a roundabout way. In some ways, we, black folk, are still viewed and treated as property; "like the horses and hogs, nothing more".
After watching one cannot simply be, think, act the same. Roots is not only a reminder of what our ancestors endured but it is also a reminder of how far we still have to go.
Will you be watching?
P.S. While I am not able to fully articulate my complete thoughts on the "should we watch it or not" argument, here is what Roland Martin had to say. These are my sentiments...Exactly.