Here's what Ava DuVernay and other public figures thought about the 'Roots' premiere


The eight-hour remake of the iconic 1977 miniseries Roots, based on Alex Haley’s autobiographical novel of the same name, premiered on Monday night.

The first of four two-hour episodes covered the birth and early life of protagonist Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) in what is now the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, his torturous 18th-century passage across the Atlantic Ocean after being captured and sold to British slave traders, and his dehumanizing struggle to assert his identity as a captive slave forced to work on an American plantation.

Many of the black viewers at home took to social media to add context and discussion to the difficult story they were viewing about the Atlantic slave trade, white American and European violence against black Africans, the United States’ history of racism, and how that past affects our present. (Check out the #RootsSyllabus hashtag for recommendations for further reading). Some of those individuals included celebrities and other public figures. Here’s what Selma director Ava DuVernay, Black Lives Matter activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson, I’m Judging You author Luvvie Ajayi, and more had to say.

The first installment of Roots also starred Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin, Emmy Award winner Laurence Fishburne, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, and Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers. (You can watch episode one on the History Channel’s website.) The second installment of Roots premieres Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET simultaneously on the History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime.

Bad at filling out bios seeks same.

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