At first I had resolved to simply troll the comments section of the Facebook posts I saw with the article of Snoop Dogg telling us to Boycott the Roots reboot, which aired Monday night on the History Channel. I got into a few minor debates, acting in this fashion until I realized that a full on rant was needed to properly address some of the arguments I’ve come across since Snoop’s comments.
I get it. Black folks are tired of the self-depreciating, subservient, slave role that seems to permeate the big screen when it comes to stories being told about black experiences. 12 Years a Slave and the Oscar frenzy that followed was the last straw for a lot of people who believe that more diverse, positive stories about black people are needed. No doubt, when you see a black man on screen who isn’t Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Laurence Fishburne, and now Idris Elba, he is usually either gay, an ignorant thug, coward, or has some kind of disability that makes him seem less human.
Even in some of my favorite TV shows I notice the black man more likely than not being portrayed in an unfavorable light. In recent years we've had movies like Selma, The Butler, and Django Unchained, which brings back to the forefront, a nasty time in our history. It's almost as if the only narrative Hollywood has room for is one that degrades, victimizes, and dehumanizes black people. That's why I wasn’t surprised when I heard what Snoop said about the Roots miniseries on his Instagram account yesterday. In case you missed it take a look below.
Again, I totally dig what Snoop is trying to say. Yes there are other stories that need to be told, but are we seriously at a point in our history where the Middle Passage is no longer a relevant part of our history? Here are 3 reasons why Snoop’s rant is not a good look for black folks.
Education: The Middle Passage and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is not being taught in schools these days. With each passing generation it is only a matter of time before this part of history is completely forgotten, and with the direction this country is taking in terms of racial harmony, equality and politics, we are poised to repeat this history, lest we forget. Never forget.
|Black Panther Party in formation.|
History: Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade is a part of the legacy of black people. It is embedded in our DNA and has made us the strong, beautiful, resilient people we are today.Since the Emancipation Proclamation was written, and slavery ended, whites and the power structure have tried to destroy us both individually and collectively. Every time we have risen up and attempted to take our destiny into our own hands, the white man has come in and destroyed what we built. We saw it with black wall street, and many thriving black southern towns, we saw it with the murder of every leader who has actually given a damn about black people and wanted the best for us, we saw it with the black panthers and the black power movement, and the infiltration of drugs into black communities across this country. No other race could have survived these continuous acts of genocide against its people. The African warrior in each of us is strong and knowing this part of our history could, should and would, prompt our children to begin to dig deeper into our history and perhaps be the ones to create the next level of black films we so desperately wish to see.
I'll leave you with some final thoughts from Roland Martin. However you may feel about his commentary and him as a person, listen to what he has to say about Snoop's bashing of Roots and if you are honest with yourself you'll see that what he is saying is spot on.