Alexander Murray Palmer Haley, better known as ‘Alex’ Haley, was born on August 11, 1921. He was an american author credited for writing the 1976 book: ‘Roots: The Saga Of An American Family’.
In 1977 the book was adapted to a TV mini-series by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), and was said to have been watched by a record-breaking 130 million viewers. *Sidenote: I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how the ‘Nielsen TV’ ratings agency was found to have falsified ratings numbers several times in the past. And since they had a monopoly on this market back then, it’s hard to say how many people actually watched this show.
Now Alex acknowledged that his book ‘Roots’ was a novel. But he did say he’d traced his family’s history back to one of his real ancestors who was ‘Kunta Kinte’, the novel’s protagonist. According to Haley, Kunta Kinte was sold into slavery where he was given the name ‘Toby’ and while living under the tyrannies of his slave master John Waller, he fathered a daughter named ‘Kizzy’. Alex also claimed that Kizzy was his great-grandmother. He also said he identified the specific slave ship and voyage which took Kunta Kinte from Africa to america in 1767.
But in 1978, Harold Courlander, who wrote the novel ‘The African’, sued Haley and charged him with copying 81 passages from his book. Courlander's pre-trial memorandum in the copyright infringement lawsuit stated: "Defendant Haley had access to and substantially copied from The African. Without The African, Roots would have been a very different and less successful novel, and indeed it is doubtful that Mr. Haley could have written Roots without The African ... Mr. Haley copied language, thoughts, attitudes, incidents, situations, plot and character."
Michael Wood, who was an English professor at Columbia University, submitted a report as an expert witness in the trial and said: The evidence of copying from The African in both the novel and the television dramatization of Roots is clear and irrefutable. The copying is significant and extensive ... Roots ... plainly uses The African as a model: as something to be copied at some times, and at other times to be modified, but always it seems, to be consulted ... Roots takes from The African phrases, situations, ideas, aspects of style and plot.
And it was upon this plagiarized semi-non-fictional book, that the Roots TV series was created.
With that said, if you’re a Black man or woman reading this, I’d just like to warn you that the remake of Roots is set to debut on Monday, May 30th, 2016. Yep…on ‘Memorial Day’ fam. The History Channel plans to run two hour episodes on four consecutive nights. And the worst part is, that buck-dancing, shufflin’ and head scratching negro Lavar Burton, the original Kunta Kinte, is actually executive-producing this piece of trash and said: "I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever.”
Now, I was one of the unfortunate souls who watched the 1977 version of this crap show in my pre-teens. And it reminded me of a sentiment I’d read in Dr. Huey P. Newton’s book, ‘Revolutionary Suicide’. And for those who don’t know, Dr. Huey P. Newton was the founder of The ‘Black Panther Party’. Anyway, Huey said when he was in elementary school, he didn’t know why he felt bad about being Black, he just knew he did. And this was the effect Roots had on me.
When I watched this show, I couldn’t necessarily follow the narrative, but I vividly remember Lavar Burton playing Kunta Kinte and how he was strung up and whipped until he submitted to being named Toby. Then in later episodes, I remember John Amos playing a mature Kunta Kinte and how his foot was chopped off for trying to escape the plantation. I also vividly remember one young Black woman screaming out for her mother as she was being taken from her family on the back of a horse-drawn buggy, while her mother looked on in horror, helpless to save her child.
Now, I also wanna’ state emphatically that Roots is being ‘rebooted’ for the same reason it was originally aired in the 70’s, and that reason is white fascist’s feel Blacks are becoming too upwardly mobile at this moment.
Now, a lot of you might be saying, Oh please…Blacks upwardly mobile in the 70’s and now!?
So now you might be sayin', prove it bruh.
Let’s look back at the 70’s.
After the integration hoax was pulled on us, we did begin to acquire college educations and employment stats show wage gains for our people that started in 1965. As more of us were allowed to join unions and get 'city' and corporate jobs, we did begin steady climbs up the socio-economic ladder.
And with TV shows like ‘The Jeffersons’, our people could visually see a representation of our upwardly mobile strides. The first line in this show’s theme song was: “Well, we’re movin’ on up…” And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how this show’s theme song was written and sung by Jan'et Dubois, who played ‘Willona’ on ‘Good Times’. And that was yet another symbol of our vaulting socio-economic status. Willona from the projects was now singin’ about a married Black couple ‘movin’ on up’ and how they ‘finally got a piece of the pie’.
And one place where our strides were especially evident, was 70’s Black cinema, or what white fascists and their lackeys were calling ‘Blaxploitation’ films.
One great example of this was the film ‘Uptown Saturday Night’ (1974). Sidney Poitier not only had the lead role in this movie, but he directed it and a Black man (Richard Wesley) wrote the screenplay.
And even movies like ‘Superfly’ had the anti-hero ‘Priest’ literally beating the hell outta’ white cops and driving off in his luxury car afterwards. And these same sentiments were echoed in movies like ‘Bucktown’ and ‘Three the Hard Way’. And what mainstream america surely doesn’t want us to know is how these films actually saved the white movie industry in the early 70’s, which was in a serious financial decline.
But white elites would have the last laugh in the 80’s, or what I call the ‘egregious eighties’. They did this by decimating our neighborhoods with the troika of ‘Reaganomics’, Crack and AIDS. This is how they figured they’d erase any forward strides we’d made or were planning to make.
Now let’s fast forward to today.
With the parents of Micheal Brown speaking at the United Nations behind their son’s murder, Judge Olu Stevens demanding to preside over juries that fairly represent African-Americans in Kentucky and The election of Barack Obama, elites feel we Black folks are getting a bit too ‘uppity’. Now, for any Black person saying that Obama’s a sell-out, I completely agree. But you have to understand two things: First, if Obama was really down for us, white fascists would have killed him a long time ago. Second, behind reason 1, all Obama could really offer us was hope…but that, and the symbolism of physically seeing him in that seat, was enough for us to initiate our upwards surge.
So behind these events and others like them, the Roots remake is about to be aired.
Now I’ve said all that to say this, If you’re a Black man or woman reading this post, you need to boycott this crap show by not watching it…and whatever you do, PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN FROM WATCHING THIS B.S.!!! Cause this show's scenes of our people being tortured and forcibly separated from our families only serve as 'mental triggers’ for reasons why we should feel inferior to whites. On top of that, it also serves to reinforce reasons why we should hate ourselves and everyone who looks like us for being Black.
And that’s this show’s ONLY goal.
So for all the anglophilic, buck-dancin’ pseudo Black folks reading this who feel the need to revisit this show’s characters with names like ‘Chicken George’ and the like, I say you don’t deserve the privilege of being born in a Black body. And know that after you finish grinnin’ around the water cooler with your white co-workers about how much you loved this story’s retelling, that when you leave, those same white folks will laugh behind your back at how profoundly stupid you are. Cause at a time when whites are doing everything they can to emulate us via silicone injected lips, butts and tans, you have to be a damn fool to dote on seeing your people being treated like property.
But if you’re one of the Black people who paid to see ‘Django Unchained’, I’ll give you a pass. Cause more than likely, you clearly don't mind working at brain stem levels anyway.
And like Sam Jackson said in ‘Do The Right Thing’: “…that’s the triple truth, Ruth.”