ROOTS: A bold remake of a classic

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ROOTS: A bold remake of a classic
By Dominga Martin

May 30, 2016

Roots logo

Alex Haley’s family saga returns with a vengeance!

The audience sat in complete stillness, captivated and overwhelmed with historical feelings of the past, after watching the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Premiere of ROOTS, broadcasting tonight on the History Channel, as a mini series. This is a remake of Alex Haley’s original television world event of Roots which took place in 1977. A story which traced his legacy’s steps from the slave trade.

Roots at Tribeca - Malachi Kirby, Erica Tazel, Sunny Hostin and Rege-Jean Page

A far distance from today’s generation, who has yet to discover Haley’s work unless mandatory reading in school or American history (with an emphasis on African Culture). One may ask, why a remake in 2016 of a historical classic? Executive Producer Mark Wolper, along with Will Packer (Think Like a Man) thought it was time. Time for the youth of today to connect with who they are, where they came from and to know a history that is no longer prevalent in today’s pop culture.

Roots Night 1 pic 2 Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby)

The cast Malachi Kirby (Kunte Kinte), Erica Tazel (Matilda) and Rege-Jean Page (Chicken George) were present at the film festival for a talk back—all needed time to collect themselves, visibly shaken and overcome with emotion after seeing themselves on screen for the first time since filming the production. They were joined by Executive Producers Mark Wolper, Will Packer, and costume designer Ruth Carter, who took the audience inside a visual description of how she found the right uniform for each character. Almost spiritual, as if each personality found their rhythm in wardrobe the moment they stepped into Ruth’s presence.

Roots at Tribeca - Malachi Kirby, Erica Tazel and Rege-Jean Page

The panel, was moderated by ABC News’ Sunny Hostin who gave audience and cast/crew a collective moment to breathe before the Q&A even began. I am sure that those watching from home this evening, who have seen the original or seeing the remake for the first time will also need a moment, of reflection, of clarity of healing and to gather themselves after the historical context is laid out boldly for this next generation. We will all need a moment to digest this episodic journey back into time.

Also joining the production is Forest Whitaker (Fiddler), Laurence Fishbone (Alex Haley), Anika Noni Rose (Kizzy) and many more familiar and new faces which round out this ensemble.

ROOTS premieres tonight at 9PM (History Channel)


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