Tag Archives: roots

Is the remake of ROOTS necessary?

1 Jun

There has been a lot of chatter on social media about the reboot of ROOTS and other films and television series (e.g., 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and UNDERGROUND) that tell stories about enslaved Africans in the United States. Some say that they are tired of these type of films and that they are no longer necessary. Why is that? Is that because so many people are so well-read on actual human history or that they belong to cultural organizations that keep this consciousness alive?roots

I emphatically disagree.

roots

One of the West African values that I was taught was Sankofa — “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” is the literal translation of this Akan word. People of African descent have many different stories to tell, but films like ROOTS are very necessary to give us an appreciation of what we faced and had to overcome to survive here in the New World. It also keeps American history honest and let’s the ancestors of African-descended people know that we honor them and will never forget them.

Jews will never let anyone forget the Holocaust. They should not. It was an atrocity that should be kept in the forefront so that it is never repeated. Just like Jews, African-descended people here in the New World must never, ever let the world forget the Maafa. Maafa is a Kiswahili term for disaster, calamity or terrible occurrence; the history and ongoing effects of atrocities inflicted on African people. The world must never forget.

Some feel that this all happened to African people so long ago and that black folk need to get passed this. No, no, no. Did you know that the Texas Department of Education is calling enslaved Africans in this country “involuntary immigrants.” That is crazy! The ugly, inconvenient truth of slavery in this country is trying to be swept under the rug. We can’t let this happen. It is not true to history and it is a dishonor to the ancestors.

Some want to see other films that are more upbeat and tell success stories. It is my understanding that Spike Lee is working on a film telling the story of the historical multi-genius of Kemet (Ancient Egypt before the Greek, Roman and Arab invasions). I wonder how many black people are going to contribute to the crowd-funding for this endeavor and will support it when it hits theaters. People say they want different type of movies, but let’s see see if they put their money where their mouths are.

Tariq Nasheed has produced a wonderful historical documentary about people of African descent called Hidden Colors. He crowd-funded his project on KickStarter. I wonder how many people who want to see something different contributed to his projects or bought copies of his DVDs.

Yes, we need happy, go-lucky films and such. African-descend peoples have many, many stories to tell. But there is certainly room for this reboot of ROOTS. Since the original, there has been more research done on the Mandika civilization (Kunta Kinte’s ethnic group) and this adaptation may be more true to life in that regard. I look at films like this as a periodic reality check to help me keep my spirit and mind right. Every once in a while, this is a good thing.

“We ain’t who we ought to be. We ain’t who we gonna be. But, thank GOD, we ain’t who we was!” ~Old Black Southern saying

So, what are your thoughts?

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Forces of Nature

22 Jun

Forces of Nature
by Tyrone Turner
Copyright 2011
All rights reserved

This poem is a series of 10 haiku poems that are strung together in a series to tell a story. According to Dictionary.com, a haiku is a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons; or a poem written in this form. This poem introduces the reader to some gods of Yoruba/Santeria/Voodoo.

Santeria, Yoruba, Voodoo and related religions are very, very misunderstood. It is not, in my opinion, “the Devil’s work.” I’ll leave it at that but I encourage you to do your own research. Personally, I respect people for whatever they may believe – as long as whatever it is that promotes good moral conduct and the brotherhood of man.

This poem has 10 verses – 10 haiku tied together to tell a story/present a message.

Do not be afraid.
It’s not devil stuff.
It’s what’s around us.

Hollywood shows us
scary things. Sacrifices,
murders, and torture.

Olódùmarè
created each one of usl.
All praises are due.

Ellegua is a
trickster, but protects your house.
Divine messenger.

Obatala is
the king of the white cloth. He
creates man and land.

Oshun is the queen
of love, intimacy, wealth,
and diplomacy.

Yemanja. Mother
and protector of children.
She is the ocean.

Changó is the god
of lighting, thunder and fire.
He’s a warrior.

Again, they are us
and we are them. We’re of the
elements of earth.

They are all around
Us. Above, below – all sides.
Forces of nature.