What a power night celebrating the upcoming mini series “ROOTS” presented by the History Channel on Memorial Day – May 30th! Cast Member Tip “T.I.” Harris and Executive Producer Will Packer hosted an Atlanta advance screening of the first episode at the Center for Civil and Human Rights with a panel discussion including Ed Lover (Hip Hop Legend), Ryan Cameron (V103), Dr. Samuel Livingston of Morehouse College, Tamarre Torchon, National Action Network (NAN) and moderated by BET & The Rickey Smiley Morning Show personality Jeff Johnson.
Let me start by saying it was an honor to be invited among dozens of influencers to share this moment in fellowship, discussion and reflection. I have to admit… seeing this movie again made me a little anxious because it pulls so many different emotions. Oh my goodness there wasn’t a dry eye in the room… but with mixed tears of sadness and redemption. This new version gives us a glimpse into the “warrior” within so many of the slaves. It takes us back to the teachings of our ancestors and how it was instilled in the souls & minds of man during the unthinkable. Did you know there were MANY attempts to take over the slave ships?? You will get to see a whole new perspective in this film. Bravo to HISTORY, Will Packer and the entire cast!
Alex Haley’s “ROOTS” was introduced to our televisions 40 years ago and changed the way we looked at life. It was the second most watched overall series finale in U.S. television history and even MORE important for our younger generations to see the new “reboot” starring some of their favorite entertainers including rapper T.I. and introducing the brilliant actor Malachi Kirby who plays Kunta Kinte (formally portrayed by LeVar Burton).
Take a look at my “iPhone” video of T.I. speaking about his role as Cyrus, the rebel solder in episode 4. Too funny… he called his character the “Tupac of Roots”:
HISTORY will air “ROOTS” over four consecutive nights at 9 p.m. The four-night, eight-hour event series is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship. “Roots” will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, in addition to HISTORY. Roots’ will allow new audiences to experience this epic family saga with a new vision that is both incredibly inspiring and tremendously entertaining.
After the screening… we were treated to deep rooted conversation. Here’s 4 things I learned during the panel discussion:
Will Packer: The phrase “you gotta make a slave” circulates throughout the movie… but people are STILL trying to make slaves to this day. This movie is the most important project I’ve done. I’ve done plenty of other movies that kids want to see like Barbershop… this was an opportunity to show something different. #History
2. Dr. Samuel Livingston spoke about the RING Shout dance ritual portrayed in the movie that brought the continents together. Africans had there religion before they were brought to America & introduced to Christianity… they mixed it into their own.
3. Ambassador Andrew Young gave us a few closing remarks and he told us President Jimmy Carter asked him to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the ROOTS movie era. Ambassador Young talked about prisons and after watching the film… he sees the SAME treatment in our incarceration system and how Maynard Jackson opened the doors for so many when he required that Hartsfield Airport provide 25% of the contracts to minority owned businesses.
4. Last but not least… a young lady (17) asked T.I…. “What should youths especially those that have never heard of ROOTS do with this movie??” And his simple but profound reply was… “This was created to empower you with the truth, do your own research outside the institution”.
So many Atlanta influencers and special guests were in attendance including :
· Phaedra Parks, Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta
· Egypt Sherrod, Television Personality, HGTV’s Property Virgins and Flipping Virgins
· Dr. Yamma Brown and Deanna Brown, Daughters of the Late James Brown
· Gary with Da Tea, On-Air Personality on “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show”
· Derreck Kayongo, CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights
· Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, President of Morehouse College
Here’s a few pics I snapped from my iPhone including a special moment with T.I. and Ambassador Young… “history & the new generation”
Be sure to tune into History “ROOTS” on Memorial Day! Sending a HUGE thanks to ALLIED for this special invite 🙂