‘Roots’ reborn: How a slave saga was remade for the Black Lives Matter era

‘Roots’ reborn: How a slave saga was remade for the Black Lives Matter era
Image: Hollywood Reporter video screen grab

[Ed. – Now with 20% more anger.]

Forty years after the original gripped half the nation (literally), a more violent and more accurate remake is here, gambling on big stars including Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin and the unresolved emotional core of America’s toughest conversation: “He was calling me a n — er, but at the end of the scene he was in tears.”

“Forgive me if this day becomes slightly emotional for me,” says LeVar Burton. “Being here in this house, at this particular time in history. This is a moment.”

This house being the White House. This moment being a daylong event — hosted by Valerie Jarrett, the president’s closest adviser — devoted to A+E Networks’ Roots, a reimagining of the blockbuster 1977 miniseries about several generations of a slave family. The four-part, eight-hour project will debut on Memorial Day (May 30), airing simultaneously on History, Lifetime and A&E. The White House screening and panel discussion is a key step toward making Roots not just a successful television show but also an old-fashioned, watercooler-style collective cultural event.

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