Justice

The Reason Snoop Dogg and T.I. Are Now the Focus of the 'Slave Narrative' Debate

May 31st 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Snoop Dogg did not watch the "Roots" remake on The History Channel Monday, and he doesn't want you to watch it either. The rapper posted a profanity laced video on Instagram saying that he's sick of watching Hollywood slave stories.

"I'm sick of this shit. How the fuck, they going to put "Roots" on Memorial Day?" he said. "They just going to keep beating that shit in our heads on how they did us huh?

Snoop Dogg's rant against slave narratives.

He called for stories about successful Black people to replace slavery narratives, which he says are far too common.

"When are y'all going to make a motherfucking series about the success Black folks is having?" he asked. "The only success we're having is 'Roots' and '12 Years a Slave' and shit like that huh? Fuck y'all, I ain't watching that shit."

 

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A video posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on

Snoop Dogg then "advised" other "real" Black people to avoid watching the series.

His video set off a debate on Instagram with nearly 1,5000 comments on the post. People were divided on both sides of the issue. Some said that slave narratives are important, while others agreed with Snoop Dogg that it's time to move on.

Comments on Snoop Dogg's "Roots" post.

The debate continued on Twitter, too.

Broadway actress and former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis was outraged that anyone would complain about slave narratives.

Other celebrities argued the importance of depicting the harsh reality of slavery through art.

Rapper T.I. plays a black soldier for the Union Army named Cyrus in the mini series. He told "Rolling Stone" in a video interview that slave stories like "Roots" are important.

"The quest for truth should be a lifelong journey," he told Rolling Stone. "From the time you're born to the time you die, you're supposed to be seeking knowledge and truth. This is a piece of it. This is a huge, huge chapter, so I think it's incredibly important."

Broadway star Anika Noni Rose plays Kizzy in the "Roots" remake, and she told Huffington Post that we need more slave narratives not less.
“I am of the opinion that this story and others of its ilk should be told with regularity,” Rose said to the Huffington Post. “It is the base of the heritage of who we are as Americans.”

Sociology Professor and Director of UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, Darnell Hunt, told ATTN: that slave narratives are important, but he also sees Snoop Dogg's underlying point. Slave stories should not be the only depiction of Black Americans in Hollywood.

"We exist in every walk of life, so why not have more African Americans in stories that cover the full range of experiences from the college professor, to the high school teacher, the counselor on down the line," he said. "Typically, African American stories aren't told in Hollywood except for slavery, rappers, and athletes or on places like BET where the audience is primarily African American."

However Hunt said that continuing to tell slave stories is incredibly important, and ignoring them is an irresponsible idea for future generations.

"That's a very dangerous idea because we tried that in the early 70s coming out of the civil rights movement and the Black power movement," he said. "It was a point in history where it seemed like America had turned the corner and we stopped talking [about slavery and discrimination] as much, and then we saw the white conservative backlash in the Reagan era in the 80s."

Some people on social media were also looking for a more balanced approach to Black stories in Hollywood.

Hunt said that the institution of slavery explains the "current condition" of the problems Black Americans face today like unemployment, segregation, and income disparities.

"If we forget the past we're going to repeat it in some ways," he said. "It tells us why it is we are where we are, and gives us the political will to keep moving forward."

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