Part of my childhood wasn’t the neatest – well, we had one of the few TVs in the community, but we could only watch it after showering.
That’s Life Mwattu was then a hit and we would sit down to get ready to watch it before those older than us would send us to our beds – yet for some reason, we somehow knew who Nakawudde was or the long theme song that started the show.
The one thing we were though allowed to immerse in was Roots, we called it Kunta Kinte, in fact people like me found out it was indeed called Roots after 2000.
This story was as interesting as emotional, whenever, it was on, my older sister would call me to sit just next to her, in that way, if there was no action happening on TV and I dossed off, I would easily rest my head on thighs – so I thought.
I only learnt later that she wanted me to be close by, just in case the action was P18, she could easily flash her hands before my eyes, and it happened a lot when we watched Roots, though on parts like one of an axe cutting off Kunta’s feet, I willingly hid my face.
On Wednesday, the epic story about a young man that was captured from Gambia was reenacted by a star studded cast in a brand new four part Roots that premiered on DSTV’s History Channel.
In Uganda, MultiChoice Uganda celebrated the premiere with a special screening at the most famous cinema at the moment, Century Cinema, besides the food and drinks, there was a lot to learn from the audience, mostly made of film makers – these guys have their blonde moments…but we won’t get into that.
This could be the first time many millennials are getting closer to slavery outside Lupita N’yongo and Ejiofor Chiwetel’s 12 Years A Slave and probably they are convinced they’ve discovered something great.
Well, it’s the new Roots; the cast is rich, from Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Anika Noni Rose and Jonathan Rhys Myers among others.
Much as one is an adoption of the other, the two mini-series both have their moment and it’s clear that the directors of the new edition, Bruce Beresford, Thomas Carter, Mario Van Peebles and Phillip Noyce who directed the first episode were trying to veer the story to a new school of viewers, probably the millennials, thus, they altered bits of the 1977 classic to make the new one more dynamic.
Besides the costuming, which is usually a problem for guys that do such films, the new Roots seems to have a lot going for it, Malachi Kirby replaces a childish Kunta Kinte that the 1977 edition served us and yes, he has the looks that made MultiChoice’s PR Tina Wamala pause with his picture as if he were around.
He’s a sex symbol of sorts, he has abs, muscles and unlike he’s predecessor who was arrested while looking for wood! Really wood, this guy was arrested in the middle of declaring his love….More like a war film. And of course he knows how to fight.
Why I call this a millennials, Roots, they went out of the way to make it as accessible for them, they love stars and message, they gave them that, oh, before I forget, actually T.I too makes an appearance…
There’s an argument among white people about blacks having to move on from the slavery stories since life is working on fine for them, but my, yes, my school of thought is as long as some guy is still making war films with white saviors, we need the slaves triumph too, it feels good to know that at the time our fore fathers were being shipped to Europe and America, some didn’t go down without a fight or died trying to be free.
Roots screens on History Channel every Wednesday at 8:30pm and a repeat on Lifetime every Sunday.